Destinations

Peru

If the mention of Latin America conjures up images of ancient ruins, colourful markets, colonial cities and of course, the mighty Amazon, then look no further than Peru. Most visitors flock to the glorious Lost City of Machu Picchu, an impressive but fleeting moment in the 5,000 year history of Peruvian settlement. And you have the gastronomy - geographic and cultural diversity results in a complex cuisine with indigenous, Spanish, African and Asian influences.

Machu Picchu and ancient Inca cities and archaeological sites deservedly place Peru at the top of many bucket lists, but South America’s third largest country is also home to a treasure of incredible places and experiences beyond the Incas. Historic Spanish colonial towns, the Peruvian Amazon which covers over half the country, the stunning highlands of the cloud-topped Andes mountains, the Peruvian altiplano as well as its rich marine life along its Pacific shores are there to be explored and enjoyed.

It was not so long ago that Lima was considered just a stopover en route to Peru’s many other iconic destinations. Now a destination on its own, Lima has become one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Latin America. The capital boasts a wonderfully preserved colonial centre, a burgeoning bohemian and artistic vibe in its Barranco and Callao neighbourhoods, pre-Colombian ruins, some of the continent’s best art museums, a thriving nightlife and, at the forefront of Lima’s renaissance – an electrifying food scene. In the past few years, Lima has become, not only Latin America’s, but one of the world’s most exciting culinary destination. With multiple local restaurants consistently listed in the world’s top 50, this is one foodie destination that you will not want to miss.

Ancient Empire of the Incas
The Inca Empire was a vast empire that expanded and flourished from the early 15th century until its conquest by the Spanish in 1530. The Incas built their empire without the wheel, powerful draft animals, iron working, currency or a writing system. The empire stretched from modern-day Argentina to southern Columbia, and was divided up into four main areas which all intersected at its capital, Cusco. Today, many of the traditions the Inca carried out live on in the Andes. Textile making is still popular, the foods they ate are consumed around the world and archaeological sites like Machu Picchu are popular tourist attractions. Even their ancient language, Quechua, is still the most widely spoken of the indigenous languages surviving in the Americas.  Six to ten million people in the Andes from southern Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, to northwestern Argentina and northern Chile use Quechua use this ancient language as their mother tongue.

Surely one of the most fascinating cities in Latin America, Cusco will linger in your imagination well after you leave. With ornate baroque cathedrals built on top of ancient Inca temples, this city is full of surprising contrasts. Walking down its cobblestone streets, a local woman in traditional garb leading her llama is as common a sight as the luxury boutiques and restaurants that now inhabit the centre. This ancient Inca capital also has its fair share of important archeological sites in and around the city, as well as the best foodie scene outside of Lima. Make sure you leave enough time to explore this amazing city.  

There are few of the world’s wonders that live up to expectations, Machu Picchu actually exceeds it! The beauty, the architectural genius and the mystery behind this iconic site never ceases to amaze and mystify everyone who is fortune enough to behold it. Whether you trek the Inca trail or take a luxury train to Machu Picchu, you will also discover the ancient settlements and stunning landscapes of the Sacred Valley, home to many important Inca sites, as well as charming colonial villages and a local Andean population with customs and traditions unchanged for centuries.

The Amazon 
The Amazon is often referred to as the “Lungs of the Earth” and it remains one of the least populated and visited regions of Peru. The Peruvian Amazon covers 60% of the country and is home to massive biodiversity. Peru has the second largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after the Brazil. The area has 700 types of ferns and more than 7,300 different species of flowering plants. The rainforest is also home to a vast number of species: around 180 reptiles, over 250 amphibians, almost 300 mammals, 700 fish, 800 birds, and 2,500 butterflies.

In less than two hours, you can fly from Lima to Iquitos, the jumping off point for your luxury Amazon cruise. With 3, 4 or even 7 night cruise options available, this is the best way to explore the northern Peruvian Amazon in style. These boutique river boats can be exclusive or join a scheduled departure; either way, you will be blown away by the breathtaking scenery and pristine wilderness as you explore the unique wildlife, visit local villages and search for the famous pink dolphins of the Amazon.

World renowned because of its spectacular macaw and parrot clay licks, the Tambopata National Reserve is one of the true remaining jewels of the Amazon. Because of the reserve’s protected status and secluded location, it offers incredible biodiversity and contains pristine primary rainforest. The reserve plays host to over 1,000 species of butterflies, 100 species of mammals (including a healthy population of jaguars), around 600 species of birds and hundreds of species of indigenous trees and plants. In fact, this reserve and surrounding region is one of the most biodiverse locations on earth. More than just a natural wonderland, this region is also home to the indigenous Ese Eja people who are believed to have descended from the heavens on a thread of cotton and are one of the last remaining foraging Amazonian cultures on earth. Enjoy your stay in one of our recommended luxury lodges in coveted and secluded locations throughout the reserve.

Accessible only by road and then boat from both Cusco and Puerto Maldonado, Manu National Park is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Famous for being where the Amazon basin meets the Andes, this pristine natural wonder has been protected by its isolation and by its indigenous people who live deep in its rainforest, some of whom have had very little contact with the outside world. Manu has some of the best wildlife viewing in Peru with over 4,000 different animal species including jaguars, pumas, tapirs, giant otters, and various monkey species not to mention its colourful macaws and their clay licks.

The Altiplano and the high Andes
The South American Altiplano or "high plateau" originates northwest of Lake Titicaca in southern Peru and extends almost 1,000 kilometres southeast to the southwestern corner of Bolivia. Nestled between two ranges of the rugged Andes Mountains, it is a vast, windswept plateau and near the Altiplano’s northern edge is Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest lake, both by surface area and volume and the highest navigable lake in the world. The sparkling, snowcapped peaks of the Cordillera Real mountains reflected in the brilliant blue water are breathtaking sights, both figuratively, thanks to the crisp atmosphere and magical lighting, and literally, because of the very thin air at 3,800 meters elevation. As for the Andes, it stretches over 7,000 kilometres and is the longest continental mountain range in the world, and the only mountains that are taller are the Himalayas in Asia.

Take a short flight from Cusco, or for the more adventurous, a spectacular overland luxury train journey, and you will arrive at mystical Lake Titicaca. Shared by Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the most sacred site of the Incas, believed to be the ancestral birthplace of the Incas as well as the Sun God. This massive high-altitude lake, flanked by the towering snowcapped Andes, is home to several inhabited islands with ancient Incan ruins and colourfully dressed villagers. Do not miss the floating reed islands and their inhabitants famous for their perfectly crafted reed boats.

Guarded by three dramatic volcanoes and locally known as “La Cuidad Blanca” (white city) for its sparkling white buildings, Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city and, considered by many, its most charming. Renowned as a cultural and culinary capital, Arequipa is blessed with world class museums, a dazzling white Plaza de Almas and a colourful monastery and is surrounded by the snowcapped Andean peaks, making it a visual delight. Once considered a jumping off point to visit the nearby Colca Canyon, Arequipa is now firmly on the map as a must-see destination on its own.

Slicing through the High Andes like a giant fissure for more than 100 kilometres, Colca Canyon is the world's second deepest canyon, nearly twice as deep as the United States’ Grand Canyon and, in our opinion, twice as magnificent. Located just 160 kilometres from Arequipa, the canyon is one of the most impressive sights in the entire Andean mountain range and is definitely one of Peru’s most underrated and under-visited highlights. Famous for breathtaking hikes, this is the best place in Peru to see the majestic Andean Condor, the largest flying bird on earth. The Colca Valley is a colourful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots, and towns founded in Spanish colonial times, still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. The local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces. A recently opened luxury lodge located right in the valley makes this a must on any Peru itinerary.

Descending down to around 450 metres above sea level, one of the world’s great ancient mysteries is revealed. Peru’s Nazca lines over the desert have stayed largely intact for at least 500 years and still baffle archaeologists, historians, and explorers to this day. Covering an area of over 1,000 square kilometres deep in the heart of the Peruvian desert plains, more than 300 exquisitely accurate and immaculately preserved giant geoglyphs, which are only visible from the air, evoke a mysticism which can only be explained once you have witnessed this sight.

Luxury train journeys around Peru
For trainspotters and railway buffs, Peru is Latin America’s ultimate destination to experience that old-world romance of rail travel. Dine and dance your way from Cusco to Machu Picchu in glamorous 1920’s style carriages or just sink into your armchair and take in the majesty of the Sacred Valley on your way to this once-in-a-lifetime destination. 

For the ultimate train journey, travel from the Inca capital of Cusco, across the Andean plains to the white city of Arequipa. Take in the region’s most spectacular sights, including Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon. Let yourself be enchanted as you pass through some of Peru’s most spectacular scenery in the lap of luxury on this three-day overland journey.

DID YOU KNOW?

One of the most bio diverse regions in the world, the Amazon rainforest is home to over forty thousand varieties of plant, two and a half million species of insects and more than fifteen hundred bird species.

Sample Itineraries
Peru

Our Peru
11 Nights / 12 Days • From US$ 9,000 per person
From its ancient civilizations to the modern gastronomic revolution, Peru has certainly left its mark on the world. Coupled with amazing natural scenery, stunning colonial cities, and a warm and welcoming people, it is no surprise that this is our most popular destination.
Hiking Peru's Ancient Trails
18 Nights / 19 Days • From US$ 7,100 per person
Marvel at nature in its purest form in the southern Amazon, then follow the ancient footsteps of Inca warriors as you trek from their ancient capital of Cusco to sacred Machu Picchu, and finally hike into the world’s second deepest canyon to watch condors soar over Peru’s stunning Colca Canyon.

Sample Itinerary for Peru

Our Peru
From its ancient civilizations to the modern gastronomic revolution, Peru has certainly left its mark on the world. Coupled with amazing natural scenery, stunning colonial cities, and a warm and welcoming people, it is no surprise that this is our most popular destination.
11 Nights / 12 Days • From US$ 9,000 per person
Days 1 & 2: Lima

Arriving in the culinary capital of the Americas, you will be warmly welcomed by your private guide and transferred directly to Lima’s most beautiful hotel. After settling in, make sure you explore some of Lima’s world class dining options. The following morning a private chef will take you on a culinary tour of Lima, explaining the unique ingredients and culinary traditions that have made this city so important on the global stage. In the afternoon you will uncover Lima’s colonial past where you will also find remnants of its Pre-Colombian ancestors.

Days 3, 4 & 5: Luxury Amazon Cruise

After a short flight from Lima, you will board your luxury Amazon cruise. This 3 night/4-day cruise will provide breathtaking scenery, luxuriant forests, nature at its finest, and the endless expanses of the river, combined with first-rate service and accommodations to create a magical environment, an experience never to forget. Your expert naturalist guide will escort you on daily excursions taking you deep into hidden corners of the Amazon, and local native guides will accompany you on treks into the jungle to discover the flora and fauna that makes this place so unique. Do not forget to look out for the famed pink dolphins that can be seen jumping around the boat.

Days 6 & 7: Sacred Valley

Upon leaving the Amazon you will head to the Highlands, where you will spend the next two days exploring the mystical Sacred Valley. Staying at one of the areas premium lodges, you will have the opportunity to visit ancient Inca sites and charming colonial villages and markets, and to discover a local indigenous population with a such a rich and proud cultural heritage. There are also some incredible and unique dining opportunities on offer that should not be missed.

Day 8: Machu Picchu

From the Sacred Valley, a luxury train will transport you to one of the world’s greatest wonders, Machu Picchu. So much has been written about, and so many pictures have been taken of this site, but there is no way to perfectly capture the moment when you first set eyes on this breathtaking place. This beautiful, magical place remains a feat in human ingenuity and architectural excellence that baffles experts to this day. You will have two days exploring the site with accommodation in a luxury lodging in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes.

Days 9 & 10: Cusco

After spending the morning exploring Machu Picchu, you will board a luxury 1920’s style train where you can dance and dine your way back to Cusco. Your hotel will be housed in a grand colonial building that has been converted into a luxury boutique hotel.  Explore the cobblestoned streets of Cusco and marvel at colonial buildings constructed on top of ancient Inca walls. With luxury shops and world class restaurants converging with indigenous women from nearby villages in colourful garb selling their handicrafts, Cusco really is an intoxicating mix of ancient and modern Peru.

 

Days 11 & 12: Lake Titicaca

Take a short flight or a longer luxury train journey across the Andean plains to mystical Lake Titicaca. Staying in a boutique lodge with its own private peninsula, the perfect place to soak up the beauty and majesty of the lake. Considered to be the cradle of the Inca civilization, this massive lake area offers a captivating array of sights, from ancient Incan ruins, indigenous communities and stunning landscapes. Enjoy a range of activities arranged by your lodge or sit back and soak in the mesmerizing views of the lake with the towering snowcapped Andes as backdrop. After enjoying two days at the lodge, you will be transferred to the airport to connect with your flight home, or you can choose to cross the lake and continue your travels into Bolivia.

Recommended Extension: Bolivia

Sail Lake Titicaca into neighbouring Bolivia. Spend a couple of nights in La Paz, before flying to Uyuni. The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat on earth, and offers some of the most stunning vistas, which for many, prove to be unforgettable. The heart-quickening sound of silence and the surreal pentagons of crystalline salt, combined with the pure sky and the cacti, are quite an assault on the senses. Then explore the Altiplano's impressive volcanic lagoons with colors ranging from pale blue, to green to a vibrant red. These lakes are also home to flamingoes and thermal waters. These wetlands are home to wild llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Andean foxes and even desert-adapted pumas can be found here.

Recommended Extension: Brazil

Fly to Rio de Janeiro and spend a couple of days in Brazil's most romantic city. Head up Corcovado Mountain to the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer and take the cable car to Sugar Loaf Mountain for amazing views of the city. Walk the bustling beachside neighbourhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema, visit the bohemian Santa Teresa, try some local Brazilian dishes and take in all the glitzy glamour of a live samba show. Fly to Iguaçu Falls and explore this magnificent site from both the Brazilian and Argentine sides of the border. Take an exhilarating boat ride to the base of the falls or hop in a helicopter for a bird’s eye view during the day. For widllife lovers, Brazil's Pantanal is a must.

Hiking Peru's Ancient Trails
Marvel at nature in its purest form in the southern Amazon, then follow the ancient footsteps of Inca warriors as you trek from their ancient capital of Cusco to sacred Machu Picchu, and finally hike into the world’s second deepest canyon to watch condors soar over Peru’s stunning Colca Canyon.
18 Nights / 19 Days • From US$ 7,100 per person
Days 1 & 2: Lima

Arriving in Lima, your Peruvian guide will be there with a warm greeting to transfer you directly to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy the comforts of your boutique hotel located in Lima’s hip Barranco area. The following day, you will enjoy a private tour to discover Lima’s unique multi-layered history. Make sure your take time to feast in this culinary capital, considered to be one of the world’s best food destinations.

Day 3, 4 & 5: Tambopata, Southern Amazon

This morning you will take a short flight to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the Southern Amazon jungle and the Tambopata National Reserve. This area is noted for its biodiversity, with over 1,700 species of plants, 103 species of mammals, 1,300 species of butterflies and 90 species of amphibians. Upon arrival, a road and then river transfer will take you deep into the jungle to your remote lodge, giving you unparalleled access to this incredible flora and fauna. Spend you days exploring jungle trails, witnessing the spectacle of the colourful macaws and giant parrots at their claylicks, watching the abundance of birdlife and playful monkeys, then take a river cruise to spot the elusive jaguar.

Day 6: Cusco

From the Amazon, you will return to Puerto Maldonado to catch your flight to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas. On arrival your local guide will meet you and take to your luxury hotel to relax and acclimatize to the Andes in preparation for your upcoming trek. Take a gentle stroll around this city to understand why it was an important centre for both the Incas and the Spaniards. In the evening, you will attend a briefing in preparation for your trek the following day.

Days 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11: Sacred Valley Trek

Heading out early you will commence your 7-day overland trek from Cusco to the majestic Machu Picchu. Staying at the best rustic lodges in the region, you will traverse less touristy trails along the Sacred Valley, home to monumental Inca sites and charming colonial villages inhabited by their descendants. This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Andean culture as you learn all about the Inca civilization and the extraordinary legacy that they left for generations to come. You will pass archeological sites, local villages, walk through farmlands and plantations, around lakes and through mountain passes always rewarded at the end of the day with a delicious hot meal and a warm inviting bed.

Days 12 & 13: Machu Picchu

After 5 days trekking through the breathtaking scenery of the Sacred Valley, you will reach a cloud forest where, after climbing the ancient Inca steps to its peak, you will have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. Few of life’s experiences will be more impactful than this moment. After enjoying a picnic lunch in this panoramic location, you will descend into the Aobamba River Valley and head towards the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu, where you will spend the night. The following morning you will head up to the Citadel. After a two-hour guided tour, you will have free time to explore on your own, including a hike up neighbouring Huayna Picchu. In the afternoon you will then return to Cusco where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 14: Cusco

Today you will have the opportunity to explore the beautiful and historic city of Cusco. Enjoy a late start to recover from your trek and take the day to discover this city on your own. Staying in a historic hotel that has been converted from a colonial mansion, you will enjoy the comfort and history that this hotel evokes. Enjoy a massage in a local spa or check out the impressive array of great restaurants on offer in a food scene second only to Lima. Do not forget to check out the markets for some locally made handicrafts.

Day 15 & 19: Arequipa

Leaving Cusco in the morning, you will take the short, one-hour flight to La Cuidad Blanca, Arequipa. This dazzling, white city, located at the base of the snowcapped Andes mountain range is often overlooked by travellers, but is a firm favourite with the local Peruvians who consider it the country’s most charming. Discover its impressive architectural heritage from its monumental main square, Plaza de Almas. Here you will enjoy all the luxuries of a modern world class hotel as you take time to prepare for your next trekking adventure.

Days 16, 17 & 18: Colca Canyon

Located less than 3 hours from Arequipa and twice as large as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon never ceases to impress. Staying in the Colca Valley, in a luxury lodge inspired by pre-Incan architectural styles, this is the perfect base to explore this stunning area. Over the next 3 days you will visit the Salinas National reserve with its wild vicuña population and the towering Sabancaya Volcano, the Condor Cross to watch magnificent condors in full flight, local villages with their ancient hanging tombs, and marvel at the pre-Incan ruins at Uyo Uyo. On your last day you will return to Arequipa for the evening and then the following morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Recommended Extension: Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands is located roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The archipelago evolved into a home for a unique line-up of plants and animals. Its most famous early visitor was Charles Darwin, a young naturalist who spent 19 days studying the islands' flora and fauna in 1835. Since then, word of these islands and their magnificent beauty has steadily grown. In 1959, the Galápagos became Ecuador’s first national park, and in 1978, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, more than 275,000 people visit the Galápagos every year to see its incredible animals and landscapes for themselves. Explore these mesmerizing islands via one of our small luxury cruises.

Recommended Extension: Argentina

Fly to Buenos Aires and explore iconic sights such as Casa Rosada, colourful La Boca and monumental Recoleta Cemetery. Enjoy Argentina’s superb gastronomy and Argentina's famous dance, The Tango. Spend time at a traditional estancia to learn about the life traditions of its gauchos. Then head northwest to otherworldly Salta and its high altitude vineyards, south to Bariloche's idyllic lakes or the Peninsula Valdes' rich wildlife and marine life. El Calafate, gateway to Argentinian Patagonia is an excellent base to explore Los Glaciares National Park. Then cap off your trip with a few nights in Mendoza Valley in the shadow of the Andes mountains, home of the Malbec grape and Argentina's - even South America's - most famous wine country.

Ready for your trip?
Let us help you plan everything.

We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.