Peru Classic – 12 Days – 11 Nights
Peru Classic Tour is designed to help you discover the soul of Peru and its classic jewels: Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and the Nazca Lines. We go further, though, and also reveal the breath-taking Colca Canyon and the sophisticated Arequipa. We also explore some of the hidden sides of modern Peru in the frenetic Lima, which will surprise you with its colonial style and the exclusive Museo Larco. We also take a step back in time with visits to Amantani, Taquile, and the Uros islands – to see how ancient traditions cope with modernity!
Tour dates and Prices (per person):
- Departure All year long
* Due to the volatility of European currency, prices expressed in Euros and in Pounds Sterling have been rounded up and may change from time to time. In Peru, the American Dollar is the benchmark for international transactions but we accept payments in Euros or Pounds Sterling as well.
DAY 1. Welcome to Peru
Arrival at Lima international airport: Jorge Chávez. Transfer to the hotel where our staff will welcome you to Perú. Free day to rest and prepare for the beginning of our trip. If you would like to take a supplementary visit of Lima (not included in the tour), we will be happy to arrange this for you. Just let us know in advance.
DAY 2. Lima, “The City of the Kings”
After breakfast, we set off to Colonial Lima. First, we start with a panoramic view of Plaza San Martin and the main square where we will visit the Cathedral, which has a religious art museum within. Then, we continue to the Convent and Church of San Francisco: one of the greatest monumental complexes of Colonial art. In between the two sites, our guide will explain the history of the surrounding buildings: The Government Palace and the City Hall. The tour continues with a visit of Huaca Pucllana, an archaeological site built in the 4th century AD and considered a holy place by the Incas.
Then we visit the modern side of Lima starting with San Isidro, Parque El Olivar (El Olivar Park), adorned with olive trees brought from Spain in the 15th century. Next, we head to one of the most iconic site for Limeños, the Parque del Amor (The Park of Love), which has a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean.
We finish our morning excursion to the Museo Larco. Built over a 7th century pre-Columbian, the museums’ new galleries exhibit the finest and most comprehensive Peruvian pre-Columbian gold and silver collection in the world; as well as the renowned Erotic Pottery Collection.
After lunch, we head to the Lima airport to board our flight to Arequipa.
Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 3. Arequipa: la Ciudad Blanca (The White City)
Welcome to the colonial and refined city of Arequipa. Today is a day to acclimatise before heading into the Andes. After we check- in at the hotel, we leave for the City Tour and Campiña of Arequipa: Plaza de Armas, Mirador de Carmen Alto, Plaza y Mirador de Yanahuara, Outlet Incalpaca y zoológico, Distrito de Sachaca, Balneario de Tingo, Via Paisajística, Mansión del Fundador, Molino de Sabandia, Andenaria de Pauparcata.
In the afternoon, we go with our local guide for a visit to one of the most important religious monuments in Peru: the Santa Catalina Monastery. Practically a citadel, the Monastery was founded in 1580. In colonial times, it was used to receive nuns from the wealthiest Spanish families. Our local guide will share with you some intriguing stories about the lifestyle of the nuns of that time.
We then continue our tour with a visit to the Alpaca Museum. (Alpaca is a South American cameloid from which we get one of the finest fibres in the world, very similar to cashmere). Here, we can see how alpaca fibre is traditionally woven–a method still alive and well even today.
At night, enjoy the great view of the Plaza de Armas (the main square) and the many bars and fine restaurants that populate Arequipa’s downtown.
DAY 4. The Andes and Colca Canyon
After breakfast, we set off to the Colca Canyon (3,191 meters, 10,460 feet), the second deepest canyon in the world (twice the depth of the Grand Canyon in the U.S.). On the trip (around four hours in length), we drive across Pampa Cañahuas in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, inhabited by vicuña and alpaca. We also see lakes, altiplano birds and herds of alpaca. The view will take your breath away – metaphorically and actually, because of the altitude. Before descending to Chivay (the provincial capital of the canyon), we pass, in fact, one of the highest points on our tour at 4,830 meters above sea level (approximately 15,800 feet!). We are here at the Mirador de los Volcanes (Viewpoint of the Volcanoes), from which one can see the Arequipa volcano chain: Hualcahualca, Sabancaya, and Ampato (all above 6,000 meters–about 20,000 feet).
In Chivay, we will have a taste of Andean cuisine: quinoa, alpaca, and mazamorra.
In the afternoon optional stroll around Chivay or possibility to have a go at the local hot springs. In the evening we will have the opportunity to taste the delicious cuisine and Andean while attending a performance of traditional music.
DAY 5. Cruz del Condor – Puno and the Altiplano
After an early breakfast, we depart to “Cruz del Condor” (Condor´s Cross) and then, with just a little luck, we will enjoy watching majestic condors soar above the rim of the canyon. On our way to Lake Titicaca, we stop in several Andean communities: Yanque, Achoma, and Maca. At lunch time, we stop again in Chivay for a buffet. After lunch, we return to our transportation and start our journey to Puno.
The trip to Puno offers astonishing natural scenery, such as stained-green steppes, peculiar rock erosions, and snow-covered Chachani, as well as wild vicuña, alpaca, and llama. We wind our way through several small towns, as well as a beautiful lagoon called Lagunillas where trout farms can be seen, and –if we’re lucky –Andean Flamingos, too. Then it’s on to Juliaca, an important commercial city between Peru and Bolivia, and finally to Puno where we will stay in a very comfortable hotel.
DAY 6. Lake Titicaca – Taquile, Uros
We enjoy breakfast and then transfer to Puno´s port where we start our excursion to the Uros and Taquile.
We board our boat: destination – the “floating Island” of the Uros.
The Uros are a little bit commercial but believe us when we say you will still have a great experience. These 50 or so floating islands are permanently built using layers of totora (reeds) that grow in the lake. Today, descendants of the Uros tribes, who had fled in advance of the arrival of the Collas and the Incas, have mixed with the Aymara and now speak their language. In the latest census, around 2,000 descendants of the Uros were counted, but only a few hundred still live there.
We continue to Taquile. Inhabited for thousands of years, Quechua-speaking islanders live almost untouched by modernity. Our guide will share with you some entertaining stories regarding the use of different huts and their social meaning. Taquileños are known for their fine hand-woven textiles and clothing. Interestingly enough, knitting is exclusively performed by males, starting at age eight. The women (only) make yarn and weave. In 2005, “Taquile and its Textile Art” were proclaimed “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. After lunch and a relaxing stroll down the hills of the highland, we jump again on our boat to Puno.
After arriving back in Puno, it’s time to rest.
Day 7. Puno to Cusco: The Manco Capac’s Route
On this day we take a long ride in a comfortable tour bus to the imperial city of Cusco.
On our journey, we first stop in Pukara, located at 3,876 meters above sea level (12,716 feet). A town of potters, Pukara is the cradle of one of the first civilizations in southern Peru (200 BC – 200 AD). This Aymara-speaking culture flourished in that region in the Collao Plateau in the region of Lake Titicaca. Pyramid-shaped buildings characterise this pre-Hispanic city. We next visit the Kalasaya Archaeological Complex (ceremonial centre of the Pukara culture). We then move to the Pukara Museum Lytic.
Later in the day, we arrive at the La Raya mountain pass: the highest point, located at 4,310 meters above sea level (14,172 feet). Here, we have the chance to get out, breathe the air, and take some photos of grazing llama and alpaca, extending to the broad altiplano horizon. This point is the junction of the cordillera and the origin of the Vilcanota knot. The sacred River Vilcanota begins here.
After taking in the amazing view, we have lunch in Sicuani at a buffet restaurant.
Next, we move to Raqchi “Temple of Wiracocha”: an enormous rectangular two-story roofed structure that measures 92 by 25.5 meters (300 by 84 feet).
Our last stop will be Andahuaylillas, considered to be the “Sistine Chapel of Peru”. Dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, the church was constructed by the Jesuits. Its walls are covered by a large number of frescoes and ceiling features, the highlight being the painting entitled “Virgin of the Assumption”, belonging to the Cusco School.
Arrival in the imperial city Cusco. A free night!
DAY 8. Cusco City Tour and Inca sites
- Kenko ceremonial centre, considered a holy place by the Incas
- Tambomachay, an archaeological Inca site known as the El Baño del Inca, “The Bath of the Inca”. It has a series of aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls that run through the terraced rocks. The function of the site is uncertain; it may have served as a military outpost or as a type of spa resort for the Incan political elite.
- Puca Pucara, a military ruins. This fort is made of large walls, terraces, and staircases and was part of the defence of Cusco, known as the Red Fortress.
- Finally, the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman, strategically built on a hill overlooking Cusco and famous for its enormous carved stones–some of them standing over 9 meters high (30 feet) and weighing over 350 tons.
DAY 9. Sacred Valley of the Incas: Pisaq and Ollantaytambo.
Night in Aguas Calientes.
Early in the morning, we start our excursion to the Urubamba valley, “The Sacred Valley of the Incas”. Our first stop will be the Inca Ruins of Pisaq, which lay atop a hill at the entrance of the valley. These ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiracay. After this great experience, we visit the rather picturesque Pisaq market where you have the opportunity to view various artisans at work and practice bartering – a mainstay of current-day culture in Peru. The market is held on Tuesdays,Thursdays and Sundays.
We continue onto Urubamba, the city, where we will enjoy a buffet lunch. After lunch, we continue along a scenic route to the fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo – the best surviving example of Inca city planning and the most “atmospheric”. The flights of terraces leading up above the town are superb, as well as the views of the valley. This was one of the last areas in which construction was performed by the Incas prior to the arrival of the Spanish.
In the late afternoon, we take a train to Aguas Calientes, where we transfer to our hotel.
DAY 10. Visit to Machu Picchu. Return to Cusco.
This is the day we enter Machu Picchu, and quite possibly the highlight of your experience in Peru. Many things have been written about this unique place, but to experience it in person… it’s a memorable day in one’s life. At 6:00 am we will be at the entrance to see the sunrise from the cover of Inti Punku, which is a phenomenal experience that everyone enjoys. Between surreal clouds and a clearing sky, our guide will share with you the secrets and the architecture of this Lost City of the Incas. For those keen on climbing Huayna Picchu, you will not be disappointed; your effort will be rewarded by a spectacular view of Machu Picchu.
In the afternoon, after this once-in-a-life time experience, we head back to Aguas Calientes where we can take a well-deserved relaxing bath in the hot springs.
Then it’s time to take our train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to our hotel Cusco.
DAY 11. Flight back to Lima
After breakfast, we take advantage of the hours available to visit Cusco, the district of San Blas, the Chocolate Museum.
So we moved to Lima to Cusco airport. Arrival and transfer to hotel.
(If you prefer we can arrange tours in Cusco alternatives in case you decide to return to Lima on day 12 of the Tour)
DAY 12. Lima
Breakfast and free day in Lima.
Transfer from the hotel to airport.
The Tour Includes
- All private and public transfers
- Flights Lima-Arequipa and Cusco-Lima
- All entrance fees
- Private boat to Amantani*
- Accommodation in three and four stars hotels (or hostels of the same quality in Cusco and Arequipa)
- All tours with professional English-speaking guides (Italian, French and German can be organised at your requirement)
- All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
- English-speaking tour leader will accompany you all along the tour (Italian and French are also spoken fluently)
*Also, please note that our service boat to Amantani will be shared if the tour is composed of less than 8 people.
**Single supplement: USD $300.
- International airfares to and from Peru
- International and national departure taxes at airports
- Other meals
- Personal expenses such as telephone bills, laundry expenses, beverages, etc.
- Insurance against theft, loss
- Other extras not specified