Peru Encompassed

tours / Adventure

Peru Encompassed information and booking

from
$2890
  • Duration
    16 days
    Days
  • Group size
    8-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 16 day trip
  • 14 nights hotel
  • 1 night homestay
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).

Highlights

  • Ballestas Islands “Mini Galapagos” & Ica desert Oasis
  • Nazca Lines
  • Colca Canyon & Arequipa
  • Lake Titicaca – Island Homestay
  • Sacred Valley
  • Rafting the Urumbamba River
  • Village of Ollantaytambo
  • Two visits to Machu Picchu at the best time of day
  • Rail journey to Machu Picchu
  • Cusco the former capital of the vast Inca Empire

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

This comprehensive journey through Peru goes well beyond a standard touring itinerary. We keep the accent on day walks (there is no trekking) with plenty of time to appreciate the rich Andean culture and landscapes. There are no shortage of highlights including the former Spanish capital of Lima and the White City of Arequipa set beneath a backdrop of impressive volcanoes. From the fascinating Nazca Lines and a cruise to the Ballestas Islands (Peru's Galapagos) we continue on to the altiplano where we marvel at the Colca Canyon (one of the deepest in the world) and the floating reed islands at Lake Titicaca, home to the Uros Indians. In Cusco our guides ensure an appreciation of Inca culture with time in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and a specially guided tour of Machu Picchu to enhance your experience of this spectacular monument - the perfect way to complete this remarkable journey through Peru.

What's included

  • 15 breakfasts
  • Accommodation in 3 star hotels on a twin share basis throughout (except one night in a local home)
  • Airport transfers if arriving on day 1 and departing on day 16
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Medical kit
  • Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including machu picchu np entrance fee)

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Lima
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel where you are free to rest in the hotel or just wander around Miraflores, the area of Lima where our hotel is located. Some of Lima's best galleries and shops and restaurants are found in this area. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is the oldest capital in South America, with a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture. If you have time to visit a museum we would recommend the Museo de La Nacion or the Larco Herrera Museum.
Day 2 In Lima - city tour
This morning we will be taken on a guided tour of the city, founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535. It has a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture. We'll also visit the famous Museo de la Nacion or the Larco Herrera Museum - which give us an excellent overview of the Andean cultures. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 3 Drive to Paracas and visit Ballestas Islands
We drive down the coast of Peru to the small coastal resort of Paracas. On the way we visit the huge desert site of Pachacamac. Many believe this was one of the most important sites in the pre Hispanic world of the Andean peoples. It was home to the great oracle. Much of the site has been superbly reconstructed. From here we continue down the coast to the fishing port of Pisco and on towards the Paracas Peninsula where we take small sturdy launches for a 3 hour cruise out to the Ballestas Islands – described as Peru's mini-Galapagos – a haven for marine wildlife. On the way we get a chance to see the huge 'candelabra' - a massive figure of what looks like a giant cactus etched in the huge sand dune. This can only be seen from the sea.
Day 4 Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are located in the coastal desert of Peru and are best described as remarkable and enigmatic. The huge designs etched into the desert by the people of the Paracas and Nazca cultures between perhaps 500BC and 900AD. There are several ways to see the lines and our leader will take us to a fantastic vantage point, a watch tower set high above the desert. Another option is to take an optional overflight. Previously, there were limited civil aviation controls at Nazca and no effective safety authority inspecting aircraft or pilots. The Peruvian airport authority has taken over the running of the small Nazca airport from where all aircraft take off for the overflights of the Nazca Lines which has resulted in much better control of the flight schedules and general flight safety at Nazca. World Expeditions cannot arrange these flights on your behalf and they are not included in the trip cost. We can assist you locally to arrange them however it is important you are aware that you take full personal responsibility for contracting and paying for your own over-flight. These flights take place in small single-engine high- winged aircraft, generally with 10 or 12 seats with their own window. The cost varies between US$50 and US$120 per person for a 30 minute flight (cost depends on demand on the day). Please discuss this with your leader locally should you like to arrange it. In the afternoon, following our exploration at Nazca, we will drive by first class public bus to Arequipa (please note the departure times of the bus may vary).
Day 5 Arequipa
The city is known as the white city because of the lovely pale volcanic rock that is used for many of its buildings. In the afternoon we take a tour of the city and surrounds including the lovely convent of Santa Catalina.
Day 6 Arequipa to Colca
After an early breakfast we board our private vehicle for a spectacular drive past volcanos to the dry semi-desert where we often see herds of wild vicuña. We spend the rest of the day visiting parts of this massive canyon – it is the deepest in the world!
Day 7 At Colca and drive to Puno
An early start for a drive along the top of the canyon to visit the famous ‘Condor's Lookout' where we get a chance to look for these magnificent birds (the heaviest flying bird in the world) gliding below and above us. Since they are wild birds we cannot guarantee sightings but most groups do get to see them. Early in the morning, as the sun starts to heat the air, is the best time to view the condors as they set sail from the rocky valley sides into the thermals. After a last look at the Colca area we depart for the 7 hour drive by private vehicle to Puno set on the shores of Lake Titicaca at 3280m (12,530ft). This is a stunning road journey across high and remote pampas. We get a good chance of seeing vicuñas - that most delicate and smallest of the Andean camelids. A picnic lunch will be taken during the journey.
Day 8 Lake Titicaca, Uros Islands and island homestay.
Puno is a typical high Andean town, set on the great altiplano that surrounds the lake and stretches all the way to La Paz. After breakfast we head down to the old lake port with its century old steamers still tied up at the wharf. From here we board small motor boat to cruise out to visit the famous Uros Islands. These islands often given the misnomer of 'floating islands' are in fact tortora reed mats that grow out of the shallower waters of the vast bay of Puno. The islands have for centuries been occupied by the small Uros community who continue their traditional methods of 'farming' and fishing the lake. From here we continue to the islands of either Taquile or Amantani where we spend a night in a local island home. These islands have been occupied by traditional farming communities and spending a night gives us a good chance to learn more about the Andean people and their traditional lifestyles.
Day 9 Return by boat to Puno and drive to Cusco
After breakfast on the island and a farewell to our hosts we head back by boat to Puno. We continue with the spectacular 6 to 8 hour journey by bus to Cusco. The fact that we travel by private vehicle means we can stop where we wish during this fascinating journey (this is a tremendous advantage over the many companies who use public transport for this unique drive). The road takes us north ascending to the continental divide at La Raya. To the west are the strange peaks of the Carabaya Range as we descend along the great valley below Cusco.
Day 10 to 11 In Cusco
In the morning we take a tour of the city of Cusco. Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise or enigma in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. We also take a short drive up to the huge ruins at Sacsayhuaman, spectacularly set above the city. After lunch we take an informal walking tour with our guide to other places of interest in the city. Perhaps to one of the large local markets near the city centre and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open air stalls and shops. After a day of organized touring, we have a free day to spend exploring this amazing city.
Day 12 To the Sacred Valley of the Incas
The following morning we start early for the drive to the Sacred Valley. After a briefing from our professional river rafting guides we board our rafts and set off downriver. The rafting is relatively gentle and would best be described as Class 2 rafting. Once we reach the finishing point we board our bus to return to the Inca village of Ollantaytambo. Should you prefer not to avail of the rafting option, it is possible to forgo this and return to Ollantaytambo by vehicle to await the return of the group. Please let your reservations consultant know if you would prefer not to raft. You will be without a guide for a few hours though there is plenty to absorb you in Ollantaytambo. This village is famous for its monolithic granite blocks that had been hauled centuries before from the quarries more than 8 kilometres away to become part of an unfinished temple high above the village. The monumental ruins site you'll visit here is definitely the most impressive in the valley. We'll have plenty of time to explore this lovely village and have the opportunity to do some 'tourist shopping', selecting from a variety of expertly made craft work, including alpaca sweaters and hats,ceramics, weavings and traditional Andean instruments. The evening is spent at our hotel in the heart of the valley.
Day 13 To Machu Picchu
From our hotel, we drive to the railway station at Ollantaytambo where we take an early morning train to Machu Picchu. Today we start early to thoroughly explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins. After a professionally led tour of the site we're free to wander around the rest of the amazing sights. We then take a late afternoon bus down to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night.
Day 14 At Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
After breakfast those who wish to can travel by bus back to the ruins to spend another day exploring, and perhaps walking up the famous Inca Trail to the 'Gateway of The Sun' (Inti Punku). Mid-afternoon we depart from Machu Picchu for the extremely pretty train ride back to Ollantaytambo, where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco and overnight.
Day 15 Free day in Cusco
A last day in Cusco before heading home. One could spend weeks exploring this beautiful city and walking its ancient streets. We also enjoy the many markets and shops selling endless varieties of handicrafts that are unique to this part of the world. Cusco has also become something of a gourmet's paradise with many restaurants offering excellent meals prepared with local produce like quinua and quiwicha. In the evening we go out for a farewell meal at one of the many restaurants in the centre of the city with a superb view of the main square.
Day 16 Fly to Lima where trip concludes
After checking out of your hotel you will be transferred (if requested) to airport for flight to Lima airport where your services end.