All the Highlights of Southern Peru
16-day Peru holidays for £1995pp
Southern Peru has a wealth of fantastic places to visit and this circuit fits all of the best ones in. After arriving in Lima, you’ll head down the coast to Paracas and Peru’s very own ‘Baby Galapagos’ before a short flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines. It’s up into the Andes next as you head to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, stopping off to see the Condors. You’ll also visit Lake Titicaca in the highlands, and all of this is before you even get to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu...
- Day One: Arrival in Lima
- Day Two: Travel to Paracas
- Day Three: Ballestas Islands tour
- Day Four: Flight over the Nazca Lines
- Day Five: Arequipa: The White City
- Day Six: Free Day in Arequipa
- Day Seven: Colca Canyon
- Day Eight: Back to Arequipa
- Day Nine: Travel to Puno
- Day Ten: Tour of Lake Titicaca
- Day Eleven: Travel to Cusco
- Day Twelve: City Tour of Cusco
- Day Thirteen: Tour of the Sacred Valley
- Day Fourteen: Tour of Machu Picchu
- Day Fifteen: Free time in Cusco
- Day Sixteen: Overnight flight back to the UK
Day One – Begin your Peru Holidays
Your Peru holidays will begin today with your arrival in Lima. We will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel in the stylish Miraflores area of the city for you to check in. Depending on your arrival time, you may just want to rest, but if you’re feeling up to it then we’d highly recommend taking a walk around the lovely Parque Kennedy and perhaps to one of our recommended restaurants to sample some of Lima’s world-famous cuisine.
Day Two – Travel to Paracas
After a relaxing breakfast and free morning we will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the coach station, where you will catch a coach down the Pan-American Highway to the beautiful Paracas peninsula. We will of course be waiting for you when you arrive and take you to your beachfront hotel where you’ll have a free evening, and of course, it's only polite to try the famous local brandy! (B)
- To give you some more time at the coast why not ask us about upgrading your coach journey to a private transfer – it’s only a couple of hours from Lima so you could get there by lunchtime?
Day Three – Tour of the Ballestas Islands
The Ballestas Islands, or the ‘Baby Galapagos’ are waiting for you this morning. We will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the harbour for your boat trip where you’ll be able to see loads of birds and sealife including flamingos, sea-lions and dolphins so don’t forget your binoculars! In the afternoon you will have a short journey further down the Pan-American to the town of desert town of Nazca. (B)
Day Four – Flight over the Nazca Lines
An early start today as we take you to the airstip for your flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines. Experienced and knowledgeable pilots will make sure you get the most out of this intriguing spectacle. In the afternoon you will return to Nazca to catch a coach up into the foothills of the Andes and the White City of Arequipa, where you will arrive in the late evening. (B)
Day Five - Arequipa: The White City
Probably the most beautiful city in Peru, a kind of Seville at the foot of the El Misti volcano is where you’ll spend today! The fantastic sights of Arequipa, such as the monastery of Santa Catalina, are just begging to be seen. You will have the whole of the day free so plenty of time to relax in the city’s famously laid-back atmosphere when you’ve finished exploring. (B)
- Why not ask us about a guided tour around the city so you don’t miss a thing?
Day Six - Free Day in Arequipa
We've given you a free day in Arequipa because we know that people never want to leave! It really is such a lovely place to wander or you might want to take a walk up to the Yanahuara mirador for that perfect photo of El Misti or check out the local markets. (B)
Day Seven - Colca Canyon
After breakfast we’ll pick you up from your hotel and take you on a on a guided tour of Colca Canyon. The Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon and hosts some wonderful natural hot springs and a huge variety of wildlife and birds so you’ll be able to enjoy some spectacular sights on your journey through to Chivay, a small town right in the middle of the Canyon where you’ll be staying tonight. (B/L/D)
Day Eight - Second Day in Colca Canyon
A bright and early start this morning, as your guide takes you to the 'Cruz del Condor', opposite the nesting-sites of the famous Andean Condors. We'll arrive in plenty of time to see these majestic birds launch themselves into the Canyon as they set out on their day's hunt, all of this before you’ve had breakfast! After spending more time in the Canyon, you will return to Arequipa in the evening. We recommend the local speciality stuffed peppers and where better to try them than in one of the restaurants overlooking the bustling and beautiful main square. (B/L)
- If you would rather head on straight to Puno from the Canyon we can arrange this by coach or private transfer.
Day Nine - Travel to Puno
This morning we will take you to the coach station to travel to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The altitude is pretty high here (3,800m) so it’s a good idea to take things easy – maybe try a cup of coca tea. A stroll by the lake as you head out to dinner is something you might like to think of doing this evening. (B)
- If you would rather stay on the Lake itself why not ask us about upgrading to the luxury Suasi Island hotel for a really peaceful stay?
Day Ten – Lake Titicaca
You will enjoy a full day on Lake Titicaca today. We will pick you up after breakfast for your day on the Lake. After visiting the floating reed islands you will stop on the ‘real’ island of Taquile to visit the Inca ruins and have lunch. The lake has been a focal point for many Andean cultures and as you experience the tranquillity you’ll begin to understand why. (B/L)
- For a truly unique way to experience Peruvian life, we can arrange for you to stay overnight on one of the islands with a local family.
Day Eleven - Travel to Cusco
We will head to the coach station this morning for your journey to Cusco, the ancient Inca capital. Your guide on your coach will be on hand to answer any questions you might have and you’ll stop at the Inca temple of Wiracocha, the Stone Museum at Pucara, and the road's highpoint at La Raya. The coach also stops at Sicuani for your buffet lunch which is included. We will be there to meet you when you arrive in Cusco and take to your hotel just off the main square. (B/L)
- Why not ask us about taking the world famous Andean Explorer train to Puno instead of the coach? The open viewing carriage at the end of the train is ideal for those perfect photo opportunities.
Day Twelve - City Tour of Cusco
We’ve kept this morning free to give you chance for a leisurely breakfast and some time to introduce yourself to the city. In the afternoon, we’ll pick you up from your hotel and take you on a guided tour of Cusco and the Inca ruins just outside the city, such as Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay. Your tour will be on foot to allow your guide to help you get your bearings and point out the more interesting quirky Inca features you pass by which you don’t get to see from the window of a coach. (B)
- Our walking tour concentrates on giving you plenty of time at our favourite sites, but it does mean that we don’t visit absolutely everywhere. If you’d prefer to change to a more conventional guided tour by coach then just let us know.
Day Thirteen - Into the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley of the Urubamba awaits you today as we journey further into the Andes for a full day tour of this peaceful and scenic valley. You will visit many Inca sites today including the village of Pisac (and its famous market) and the stunning temple-fortress of Ollantaytambo, as well as the royal site of Chinchero with its unique colonial church. Your guide will be on hand with all the information you will need to start understanding the spirit of the Incas. After your tour you will be taken to your hotel in the valley for a peaceful night’s sleep in this tranquil setting. (B/L)
- If you have the time to extend your Peru holidays we can easily add a free day to relax in the valley or if you’re more adventurous at heart some white-water rafting down the Urumbamba or mountain biking in the hills?
- Or why not ask us about upgrading to some of the stunning new spa hotels in the valley for a truly luxurious pampering treat?
Day Fourteen - Machu Picchu
Today’s the one you’ve been waiting for... We will pick you up early in the morning and take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo for your Vistadome train up to Machu Picchu. We’ll give you a full guided tour of the site and then leave you to explore the nooks and crannies yourself. Although you’ll never forget your day here or your first glimpse of the breathtaking lost Inca city make sure you remember your camera as we can guarantee you’ll want to show these photos off! When you’re ready you’ll take the bus back down through the cloud forest to the foot of the mountain in time to catch your train back to Cusco. (B)
- If you’re not sure one day will be enough at Machu Picchu we can add in an extra day so you can experience sunrise from the sun-gate, or climb up to the Inca watch-tower on neighbouring Huayna Picchu for a new perspective on the site.
Day Fifteen - Free time in Cusco and Lima
After a free morning in Cusco to relax we will pick you up and take you to the airport for your flight back to Lima. We will take you back to your hotel in Miraflores, and we definitely recommend to try one of Lima’s growing number of world-famous restaurants. (B)
Day Sixteen – Last Day of Your Peru Holidays
We have left the last day of your Peru holidays free to make sure we can accommodate any international flight time and get you to the airport in plenty of time for your journey home. If you don’t depart until the evening we can organise some extra sightseeing for you and we always make sure you keep your hotel room until you leave for the airport so you can leave your packing until the very last minute if you so desire! (B)
Options for our Peru holidays
Beach Breaks in Peru – 3 days from £595pp
The best beaches in Peru are in the North and as they’re much closer to the equator than those around Lima, the weather is warmer all year so they’re an excellent choice to soak up some sun on the sand and enjoy some downtime on your holiday. The palm fringed white sands of Mancora and Punta Sal are our favourites.
Trek the Inca Trail – from £350pp
Going to Machu Picchu by train is an unforgettable thing to do, but if you would rather take the more authentic route you can trek in the Inca’s footsteps along the world famous Inca Trail. It takes three days to walk the trail and you arrive at the Sun Gate on your fourth day to witness the sun rising over this truly wondrous view of the ancient lost city.
Nazca Lines from Paracas – from £95pp
If you want to see the Nazca Lines on your Peru holidays but are short on time or don’t fancy the quite lengthy road journey between Lima and the town of Nazca, we can organise a flight over the lines from the beach resort of Paracas instead. This lies just a couple of hours south of Lima and we can then bring you back to Lima to fly up to Arequipa or Cusco from there, so it’s a much more relaxed proposition all round.
Sacred Valley Spa Break – 3 days from £195pp
Whether you’ve been trekking, into the jungle or just fancy a treat after all of your sightseeing a few days at one of the luxurious spa hotels in the Sacred Valley is well worth thinking about. The hotels offer top-notch treatments and facilities and there aren’t many settings as serene as here to spend a couple of days relaxing.
Whitewater Rafting – 1 day from £95pp
If you’re keen to get your blood pumping, how about a bit of rafting action? There is a good choice of rivers with excellent white-water rafting opportunities near Cusco and we can organise a full day’s rafting for you or even a couple of days with camping overnight to go that extra mile.
Huancayo by Train – 3 days from £350pp
Until very recently when China stole the title the train line from Lima to Huancayo was the highest in the world. If you’re going to Peru and you like trains then this journey is a must! The route takes you through beautiful countryside and the comfortable Pullman carriages and bar make it a very relaxing journey.
The standard price for our "Southern Cross" Peru holidays is £1995 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.
That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides and entrance fees. It also includes all your meals in Colca Canyon, lunches in the Sacred Valley, on Lake Titicaca and on the journey from Puno to Cusco, plus breakfast every day.
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2016.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.