Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

Essential Peru

15 days
from
$3,349
incl. taxes
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
APD
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
5–18
Min age:
16

Discover the highlights of southern Peru, from Nazca to Arequipa

A spectacular journey through Peru's varied landscape encompassing coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the high altiplano and lush cloud forest. The most famous sites are all visited including the mysterious Nazca Lines, awe-inspiring Machu Picchu in its incredible mountaintop setting, Lake Titicaca, where the night is spent in an island homestay, and the remarkable 3000m deep Colca Canyon. On the way we encounter traditional culture, condors, llamas, and a warm welcome from the Peruvian people.

The 18 June departures in 2019 and 2020 coincide with Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco. Translated as 'Festival of the Sun' it is the most important of all Andean festivals; during this time Cuzco is filled with colourful processions and festivities. For full details on this itinerary, search for trip code APDA.

Highlights

  • Discover the iconic Machu Picchu by train with guided tour
  • Homestay on traditional Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca
  • See Colca Canyon and its soaring condors
  • Wander through the colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent
  • Drive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley

Key information

  • 13 nights en suite hotels and 1 night homestay 
  • Group normally 5 to 18, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Time spent at altitude
  • Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus
  • Several long drives and early starts
  • Countries visited: Peru

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we spend the nights in small locally owned hotels as well as a night with local families in Amantani Island for a homestay experience. This ensures that our visit directly benefits the local community. All of the hotel managers also signed a sustainability contract which ensures that they employ locals and endeavour to reduce waste. There is also an optional excursion to the Sacred Valley which includes eating a traditional meal in a rural village.

We adhere to all Machu Picchu regulations. There are limited permits in order to reduce overcrowding and damage due to footfall, but our guides and porters are still very mindful of how we treat the environment. We work with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, meaning we have respect for wildlife and the landscape, separate rubbish and take all waste back to a proper disposal place.

The free day in Cuzco is a good chance to visit Café Manos Unidas, the first vocational training site for young adults with disabilities in Cusco, creating employment opportunities for youth in their own community. In 2018, Exodus funded £5,000 where during the first three months of operation has directly benefitted 15 youths as well as 52 other community members indirectly. Having a meal there is a great way to interact with the locals while also supporting a cause that gives those who would normally be isolated from society the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Lima
to
Lima
  • Day 1

    Start Lima.

    Those travelling on the group flights and those who have booked a transfer through Exodus will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima. There will be a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held.

    Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Drive south along the coast and sail to the Ballestas Islands, home to the highest concentration of marine birds in the world; overnight in Ica.

    We set off very early this morning (around 5.30am) and drive south from Lima until we reach the port of Paracas (4-5 hours' drive). The Ballestas Islands lie a short distance off the coast here and are home to one of the highest concentrations of seabirds in the world – we visit them by boat.

    On the outward journey we pass the curious pre-Inca Candelabra geoglyph, a huge (over 150m high) three-pronged trident shape etched into the sandy hillside, the origin and purpose of which remains unknown (although there are many theories). Upon reaching the islands we explore the caves and rock archways by boat and observe the Sea lion and Fur seal colonies as well as Humboldt penguins and an array of birds such as cormorants, pelicans, tendrils, and Peruvian Blue-footed booby birds.

    The boats are open-top motorised boats and are shared with other non-Exodus clients (occasionally the sea is too rough and the boats can't operate). Take heed of seabirds above – it is advisable to wear a hat! The boat trip lasts around two hours.

    Once back on dry land we drive for an hour or so to Ica, the heart of Peru's wine-growing region where we spend the night.

    Hotel Vila Jazmin (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    On to Nazca; see the Nazca lines; optional scenic flight.

    We drive towards Nazca, stopping to visit the viewing platforms overlooking the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand.

    In the afternoon, for those who wish there is usually time to take a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines (additional cost), weather permitting. Due to the small planes used, this is not suitable for those with a fear of flying or who suffer from travel sickness. Alternatively your leader can help arrange optional visits to the nearby burial grounds, Antonini Museum, or the Planetarium.

    Casa Andina Hotel / Alegria (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes.

    We turn inland from the coastal desert today, climbing high into the Andes on today's long (12-13 hrs) but spectacular drive. Vicuñas (a smaller wild relative of the llama) can be seen along this road, as this area is Peru's largest vicuña reserve. This region has only recently become easily accessible to tourists due to an upgrade of the Abancay/Chalhuanca road. The altitude here can make physical exertion difficult (the highest point we reach today is Negro Mayu, a high pass at approx. 4600m). It is recommended to rest in the evening. Tonight, we stay in Abancay on the road to Cuzco.

    Hotel de Turistas Abancay (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Drive to Cuzco (3400m) visiting Inca sites on the way.

    We set off towards Cuzco this morning, stopping to visit the unique Inca Saywiti stone and Tarawasi ruins. The glaciated summits of the Vilcabamba Mountain range and the descent into the Apurimac River valley demonstrate the dramatic contrasts of the Andes Mountains, and we should expect stunning scenery throughout today's 7-8 hour drive.

    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 Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Free day to explore Cuzco.

    To help acclimatise, we have a relaxed walking tour this morning to discover its historic buildings and winding streets of Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. The rest of the day has been left free for exploring on your own. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people watching, and the Koricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery is worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.

    Outside the town are more Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. A combined entrance fee (Tourist Ticket) for these sites and many others is recommended – please see the Optional Excursions section below for prices. Sightseeing excursions to places outside Cuzco, including the Sacred Valley of the Incas, are also available. Please ask your tour leader.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu.

    For most people, the highlight of the trip is the visit by train to the greatest ruin in the world, the lost city of 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 remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.

    We transfer to Ollantaytambo train station to catch a train to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu). The railway line follows a beautiful route through the Urubamba River Valley. In the afternoon we take a short bus ride up the winding road to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the ruins. 

    New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; 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. 

    Visiting in the afternoon tends to be quieter than the mornings and the mist which shrouds the ruins at dawn has usually dispersed. 

    Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.

    Today we have a free morning to enjoy the buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins. There are some hot springs nearby, however they tend to suffer from overcrowding and therefore poor water quality, so are not recommended.

    Should you wish to visit Machu Picchu again this morning, your leader will help you to purchase a second entrance ticket (subject to availability) which will allow you a further four hours to explore the 'Lost City' – for the second visit it is not mandatory to have a guide. At the time of writing a morning ticket costs PEN152 (approx. US$47).

    In the afternoon we board the train back to Ollantaytambo and then continue by minibus to Cuzco, arriving in the late evening.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Free day for optional excursions.

    We have a final chance to enjoy the sights and shopping of this beautiful city. If you fancy something more active then there is an array of optional activities available from Cuzco that your leader can organise. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Drive to Lake Titicaca (3800m), with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay.

    Today we travel for 8-10 hours along the Vilcanota River and onto the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungle. Although it is quite a long drive, the views are often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to help break up the day and we will get to appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. This afternoon we arrive at the shores of Lake Titicaca (3800m) and board a boat for our trip to Amantani Island. Hiking around the island offers great views across the lake, whilst the night spent with a local family is a fantastic cultural insight into lives very different to our own. (A packed lunch is included today).

    Amantani Island homestay (Basic)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands.

    We explore the island in the morning before boarding our boat for the three-hour journey to Puno on the lakeshore. On the way, we visit the Titinos Indians, who live on islands of floating reeds and, save for a few modest concessions to the modern world, still live as their ancestors would have done centuries ago. Most tours visit the Uros islands closer to the shore but we go to the more isolated Titinos Islands for a more authentic experience.

    Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon.

    Today we head off across the altiplano again. This time we cross to the south west, heading back towards the coast to the high Colca Canyon (5-6 hours' drive). En route we have opportunities to see vicuñas and possibly flamingos, crossing the Pataampa Pass (4810m) before descending into what is considered to be the second deepest canyon in the Americas (the deepest, the Cotahuasi Canyon, is also in Peru). There is time in the evening for a visit to the hot springs near the main town of Chivay (3635m) – a warming pleasure after the chill of Lake Titicaca.

    Hotel Pozo del Cielo (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the 'White City' of Arequipa (2350m).

    An early start to view condors soaring on the morning drafts rising out of the canyon. Extensive terraces, stunning colonial churches, and burial tombs are viewed before we ascend out of the canyon and cross Patapampa Pass (4910m) on our way to Arequipa, known as the 'White City' due to the pale volcanic stone used to construct many of its colonial buildings. The picturesque city enjoys a year-round pleasant climate and is surrounded by 6000m volcanoes, including the near-perfect cone of El Misti.

    Ensueño Hotel or Su Majestad Hotel  (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima.

    In the morning we visit the huge and serene convent of Santa Catalina. Built in 1580 and only opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it offers a rare insight into the lives led by the nuns and has changed little through the centuries. There are still around 20 nuns living in the northern corner of the complex. In the afternoon or evening we fly to Lima where will transfer to our hotel in Miraflores.

    Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Lima.

    There is time today for optional tours of Lima including visits to the Gold Museum and tours of the historic downtown before we are transferred to the airport in the afternoon for the overnight flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Amazon Rainforest extension (Pre-tour, from Lima)

Code: XPLA

Easily accessible via a short flight to Puerto Maldonado from Lima, the Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and home to an astonishing array of wildlife, as well as countless plant species. Spending three nights at a lodge in the incredibly rich Tambopata Reserve, we use motorised canoes to explore its lakes and rivers, and follow jungle trails to discover its dense forests. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Price from: £659 (compulsory supplement of £110 for single travellers)

Post-trip Extensions

Amazon Rainforest extension (Post-tour, from Lima)

Code: XPL

Easily accessible via a short flight to Puerto Maldonado from Lima, the Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and home to an astonishing array of wildlife, as well as countless plant species. Spending three nights at a lodge in the incredibly rich Tambopata Reserve, we use motorised canoes to explore its lakes and rivers, and follow jungle trails to discover its dense forests. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Price from: £659 (compulsory supplement of £110 for single travellers)

Essential Info

Visas

Peru

Visas are not required by UK citizens, Western European nationals, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and most other nationalities. If you are in any doubt please contact the nearest Peruvian Embassy.

Vaccinations

Peru

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

If you are travelling to the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest, the risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. We also strongly recommend that you obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination. Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in the Amazon region. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites: always apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while in the rainforest to avoid being bitten.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner (at the homestay) are included.

The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. Drinking water will be provided in large containers free of charge; please bring a refillable bottle with you.

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 cannot 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 local 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.

Weather

Peru's diverse geography results in a very varied climate between different regions.

Lima and Paracas fall within the coastal desert region of Peru, with a mild climate and very little rain all year. From April to November the sky is almost always grey and cloudy and the air humid. Average day time temperatures in Lima remain between about 18 and 24 degrees Celsius during this period, with July and August typically being the coolest. Nights are also mild – typically 15-18 degrees Celsius. From December to March the skies in Lima are clear and temperatures at their warmest but elsewhere in the country this is the rainy season.

Cuzco and the Andes have a temperate climate. December to March is the rainy season in Cuzco/the Andes and April to November is the dry season; characterised by clear skies and strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. Daytime temperatures are usually pleasant (approx. 20 degrees C on average) but night times only 5-10 degrees C, except for May, June, July and August when days are cooler and nights are often close to, or a few degrees below, freezing. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud, rain or even snow, and rapid and unexpected changes! 

Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon are high, and at 3,800m and 3,600m above sea level respectively, the sun is strong but the air can be cold, and nights can be close to freezing. You will need to bring some warm layers and a waterproof or wind-stopper. 

Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are in the cloud forest and as such attract large amounts of precipitation all year as clouds move up from the Amazon Basin. Rain here can be heavy, but is seldom prolonged. Cold fronts sometimes occur from July-August.

Peru is affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon whereby warming of Pacific Ocean surface water off South America drives a shift in the atmospheric circulation resulting in abnormally high levels of rainfall over parts of South America. These events occur at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and last nine months to two years. A strong El Niño event occurred in 2014-16. In El Niño years, temperatures in Lima can be much warmer than described above but it still rarely rains in Lima.

Cuzco

Lima

Is this trip for you?

This is a busy itinerary encompassing the main highlights of southern Peru. You should be aware that the size of Peru means that this holiday involves some long drives and early morning starts. The longest drive is between Nazca and Abancay and takes in the region of 9-10 hours. The private buses used are comfortable and the scenery is outstanding. There will be several stops along the way to help break up the long journeys. The road between Nazca and Cuzco becomes increasingly winding as we climb higher into the mountains, and this, combined with the increase in altitude, may affect you if you are prone to travel sickness. 

Although graded Leisurely/Moderate (level 2), the altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level. As this trip spends considerable time at altitude we ask you to refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for more information and advice on how to limit the effects of altitude sickness. The tour allows for gradual acclimatisation, visiting Abancay (2,400m) before moving on to Cuzco (3,400m), then Lake Titicaca (3,800m) and Colca Canyon (3,635m). Although we do not linger there, the maximum altitude visited on this trip is 4,910m (Patapampa Pass) which we drive over near Chivay, Colca Canyon – please ensure your travel insurance covers you up to this altitude. 

It can be cold at these altitudes, particularly from May until August (although these months benefit from lower rainfall), and you will need to bring appropriate clothing.

Cuzco, Arequipa, and many of the Inca sites (including Machu Picchu) are built on hillsides, and sightseeing often involves walking up and down steep streets or on uneven steps or terraces. As such, you should have a good level of mobility and a reasonable level of fitness.

Strikes are not uncommon in Peru and whilst these are generally peaceful protests, they can result in roadblocks and disruption to travel. In this event, your leader will amend your itinerary if necessary to minimise the impact.

List of Regulations for visiting Machu Picchu:

The main points impacting your visit are the following:

  1. The tickets are valid only for one entry which means that you cannot leave the site and re-enter.
  2. Once you have done the chosen circuit with your guide, you cannot walk back to view anything already visited and once you finish the circuit, you will have to leave the site. You can no longer explore the site further after the guided tour.
  3. The two visit times for visiting the site, either 6am-12pm or 12-16.30pm.
  4. The local authorities have restricted the temples which can visited at Machu Picchu depending on the time of the visit to the site.

These regulations will affect how long you are able to spend at Machu Picchu and which temples you can visit.  In the past, after the guided tour passengers could stay longer to explore the site, this is not possible anymore. The alternative that we are implementing on our visits to allow you further time, is to explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate and Inca Bridge) before starting the guided tour.  The guided tour will be about 2 hrs in duration, and unfortunately at the end of it, you will need to exit the site. You will be able to visit the Sun Temple, but not the Sun Dial Temple or the Condor’s Temple on this itinerary.

 Schedule of visit to Machu Picchu on this itinerary:

  • 12pm access to Machu Picchu and explore upper part with the tour leader
  • 2pm start the guided tour
  • 4.30pm passengers leave Machu Picchu

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Titicaca homestay

13 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night homestay with basic shared facilities.

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary however accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. Throughout this tour we stay in carefully selected 3-star hotels with en suite bathroom facilities throughout, with the exception of one night on Amantani Island. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at reception.

In Lima we stay at Hotel El Tambo 1, located in the upmarket Miraflores District - Larco Mar shopping mall is within walking distance as is the trendy Barranco District, where you'll find a wide variety of restaurants and nightlife. We usually stay in Villa Jazmin in Ica, which offers large rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Near to Abancay we stay at Tampumayu, which is a hacienda style property - a little rustic but full of character and there's a pretty little church within its grounds. In Cuzco we stay at one of the well-known Casa Andina properties, Casa Andina Koricancha, which is ideally located within walking distance of the main square and the Koricancha 'Sun Temple'. For our Machu Picchu visit we spend a night at Inti Punku El Tambo in Aguas Calientes; a simple yet contemporary hotel. The most basic accommodation is in Chivay and Arequipa but it serves its purpose for a night. Casona Plaza Hotel in Puno has a local 4-star local rating, is centrally located, and has a lovely restaurant area. 

Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels. Most hotels provide plug in heaters and spare blankets. Additionally whilst all of the hotels have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

A railway line runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and whilst we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, the trains might be heard from some rooms.

On Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca, the group will split up overnight to stay with local families. There will generally be a few of us in each house and we may have to share rooms en masse - single supplements do not apply for this night. The rooms are basic but clean and your beds will have sheets and plenty of blankets. There are outside toilets and washbasins. The lack of electricity or road noise (there are no roads!) and the starlit sky on clear nights makes for a truly peaceful and serene experience.

Single rooms can be booked for single supplement, subject to availability, at the time of booking. This supplement covers single rooms throughout the trip, with the exception of the homestay on Amantani Island. We recommend the early booking of single supplements and of pre/post tour accommodation.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Neil Thomas

    Llamas and Alpacas: Machu Picchu Dreaming

    It took me a while to love Peru. It didn't help that our flight from Gatwick was delayed nearly 24 hours, resulting in us missing the first part of the adventure, and then enduring two very long travel days. However, once we arrived in Cusco and dealt with the initial impact of the altitude, the magic started to work. Ignore the sprawling, traffic-filled suburbs: the historic centre of Cusco is a magnificent place to spend a couple of days. We enjoyed visiting the market, the Bohemian quarter of San Blas, people watching in the Plaza de Armas and even waiting to cheer a bride into her wedding. Our days in Cusco bracketed our visit to Machu Picchu, which is every bit as magnificent as the guidebooks lead you to believe. Our allocated afternoon time slot allowed us to walk to the Sun Gate before visiting the main site - a rewarding experience affording magnificent views. The downside of MP - the shuttle buses to and from Aguas Callientes. You will have to face lengthy queues in each direction. On our second morning in Aguas Callientes we resisted the urge to visit MP again and instead were taken on a walk along the railway line to Los Jardines de Mandor, a beautiful botanic garden in the cloud forest leading to a waterfall. I would urge all Exodus clients to make this three-hour excursion - it was a highlight for us. After Cusco, there was another sprinkling of magic on Amantani Island, an oasis of beauty on Lake Titicaca. Our visit coincided with an island fiesta, so we enjoyed the riot of flags, dancing and colour displayed by the locals. Our journey across Titicaca also involved a visit to one of the floating island communities. That too was wonderful in a weird way. Next was the trip through the altiplano to the charming town of Chivay, stopping to watch an erupting volcano and a couple of whirlwinds en route. I can also now tell my llamas from my alpacas, as well as vicunas - there are plenty of all three species to be seen en route. Chivay offered a trip to the thermal springs and a rare hour of leisurely self-indulgence. The next day it was an early start to see the Andean condors rising on the thermals in Colca Canyon - another memorable experience. Then it was Arequipa, our visit coinciding with another festival of music and dance, and finally Miraflores, and a belated meeting with Paddington Bear, before our flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu, Cusco, Amantani Island, Colca Canyon, the train trip from Ollentaytambo to Machu Picchu. There were more, but you get the drift.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have been on numerous Exodus trips, all with good leaders, but Giuliano Gallesi was on a higher level than all of them - not just because of the altitude. He dealt efficiently with our day-late arrival and then led the tour with authority and compassion throughout. He was quick to recognise the signs when group members were struggling with the altitude and twice called the doctor as a result. He has a very good command of English, a likeable personality, was happy to answer all our questions and, above all, was available to the group 24/7. A true professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the long distances involved in the itinerary. For most of the route, the bus had a toilet on board, but that is of little consolation if, like me, you are not happy travelling near the back of a coach. We bought Peruvian Soles in advance of the trip and these were easier to use than US dollars. Dollars are accepted, but you are subject to the vagaries of local exchange rates. Food was generally of a very high standard. Our tour leader took us to or recommended consistently good restaurants. Make sure you have a supply of toilet paper handy. Many public banos did not have any available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Essential Peru is a rewarding but tiring trip. And you cannot ignore the altitude. On first arrival in Cusco we wanted to go straight to bed to sleep. The advice to take a short walk for some fresh air and then to have something to eat helped us to acclimatise.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Linda Stephenson

    Amazing Peru!!

    From start to finish this trip ticked all the boxes. Yes it's full on, Peru is a huge country and this holiday maximises your time to visit all the most interesting places and areas. The scenery whilst travelling around is amazing. Didn't even open the book I'd taken to read on the coach!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many - the reed islands on Lake Titicaca, standing at the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu at dawn - watching the transformation from atmospheric cloud and mist to bright sunshine, seeing the Andes in all their glory and experiencing the Amazon rainforest and it's amazing flora and fauna.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Daniel was fabulous. His friendly personality, pride in his country, knowledge of Peru's history and cultures, enthusiasm and organisational skills and excellent English made us feel very well looked after. Felt like we were travelling with a friend who was also a guide and leader!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it! You can sleep when you get home!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would definitely recommend the Amazon rainforest extension. Completely new experience and different to any other adventure we've been on.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Gary Cox

    A fantastic iconic adventure.

    Did i enjoy this trip,you bet.From the start to the end this trip was a revelation,everyday was an highlight.Back home after 3 days,and iam still buzzing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Peru is so much more than Machu Picchu,which of course is fantastic.For me,the homestay on Lake Titicaca,the local market next to San Pedro market in Cusco were truly memorable.I could go on,and on,everyday was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was probably my adventure of a lifetime,and Daniel,our group leader,made this happen.His organisation skills,his patience,his passion for Peru were exceptional.Through his leadership we experienced a magical Peruvian adventure, many, many thanks Daniel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of spending money(you will need it)and enjoy Peru.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't just read these reviews,go,go,go to Peru!!!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Georgina Shanks

    Good

    A fascinating country, exceeded expectations.S

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Condors in the Colca cannon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An experienced leader, who had lost his love of the job. Daniel was very wrapped up in his family’s, yes two of them. He kept information to himself, and only informed the tour at the last minute. He treated us like children, and obviously liked the men, he was very hostile to the women at times. He dumped the group as quickly and as often as he could. Very little information was given on long journeys, so I feel we did not learn as much about Peru as we could have. The specialist guides were much better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a lot of extras to pay for, not listed in the trip notes. museums, cathedrals etc. ,
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Christine Harrison

    Essential Peru

    This was an excellent tour. Lima, Cuzco and Arequipa were very interesting and lively cities to explore, each containing many palaces, cathedrals, convents, crypts and so much more. The Inka Museum and Sacsayhuaman site in Cuzco should not be missed nor the Planetarium and ancient burial grounds at Nazca. The flora and fauna were also amazing and plentiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most amazing sights were the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca Lines and, of course, Machu Picchu. The second visit to Machu Picchu gave me the chance to explore it all over again at my leisure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found the easiest way to cope with extremes of altitude (ie warmth and coldness) was to dress in layers. Also to have plenty of snacks handy for the long, long drives.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Richard Wightman

    This trip has everything

    This has to be the trip of a lifetime. Of course you visit Machu Picchu, but so much more. To start with the seabird colony at Ballestros island including penguinsand peleicans. Then the impressive Nasca Lines before heading to the hills and across the plateau to Cusco visiting other Inca sites on the way. Machu Picchu is amazing - everything I expected and more. We visited at 1200 noon and it wasn't too crowded, even better we had a free morning the second day so went again and saw more of it - went a further 950 feet up to the Sun gate ( the entrance to the site from the Inca trail) also the Inca bridge. Then back to Cusco and long drive to Lake Titticata and delightful home-stay with local people...an amazing insight into how the island communities live day to day. Then across the lake to see the floating islands, meet the people and have a trip on a reed boat. Next to Colka Canyon to see condors - I would not have missed this as one of the highlights of the trip - we saw 12 and got some great pics. Finally to Arequipa before return to Lima. It really feels like I have been on 3 holidays all rolled into one - I struggle to think how I can better this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    see above

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant - nothing was too much trouble and always looking after welfare of all the group. A local Peruvian leader employed by Intrepid who 'leads' for several different holiday 'brands'

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of long drives 8-9 hours and early starts leaving hotel at 7.00am. Note that you need to be fairly fit and active and in good health - just about everyone was affected by altitude but only to the extent of breathlessness - nobody suffered AMS.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Helen Bouchami

    Wonderfully varied trip

    Loved Peru. Land of contrasts and dramatic scenery, from the soaring peaks of the Andes to the world's second deepest canyon and the highest navigable lake, from the simple lifestyle of the Titicaca islands to the sophistication of Miraflores in Lima. The surprise of a desert oasis with towering sandunes. Basking seals among rows of pelicans and boobies on the offshore islands, majestic condors in the canyon, and cute alpacas and even cuter vicunas. Impressive Incan structures - from Machu Pichu to terraced mountainsides, and the elegant colonial architecture of the Spanish. The trip notes mention the early starts and long hours on the bus - this is true, but the spectacular scenery provides an excellent distraction. The bus itself was large, and although it lacked a little of the camaraderie I've experienced on smaller mini-buses with Exodus in the past, the space to spread out and the on-board loo were appreciated. My attitude is that the hours of travel are the price you pay for seeing so much, and those are the memories that remain. I loved the variety of scenery and activities on this trip. I thought it was very well put together, including allowing for a gradual adjustment to altitude.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Pichu lived up to expectations, a highlight of not just this trip The condors were a wonder. Some came really close, but so quickly that I had no time to adjust my zoom. The home stay, whilst not the most comfortable experience, was fascinating - the weather there was cold and rainy, but our hosts, the mamatis, were a delight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano was an excellent organiser and very personable. So hard working, he was constantly checking ahead to ensure that everything ran smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes say no walking poles are allowed in Machu Pichu, so I had left mine at home. On our first, guided visit I found many people, even the young and fit, using them, so I bought one for the next day (c£10) and found it much easier to move around the site which has steep steps, uneven surfaces and few handrails. . It is definitely worth the second optional entry. RE. gifts for the homestay hosts, food from the San Pedro market in Cusco, fruit, cheese etc. was very acceptable if you can't fit anything from home into your case. Don't be overly concerned about altitude. Most people felt some effect, but a little breathlessness is not altitude sickness. Take the advice re. hydration and not overdoing it. It was curious - I climbed up to the Sun Gate with no problem, but found myself (as did others) gulping air occasionally when lying down, or bending to put on shoes - mainly on the Lake as this was our highest overnight stay. BTW I am in my seventies

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just wanted to add my appreciation of the drivers used on the trip. Mountain roads with their many bends, and lots of lorry traffic, don't make for easy driving. They waited patiently for a safe place to overtake, which allowed the group to relax and enjoy the scenery.
  • Reviewed May 2019

    Not Leisurely

    We chose to arrive in Lima a few days early which were glad about because there is a very early start on day after the scheduled arrival day. Also some people had connecting flight problems which meant they were late joining the group. I honestly it is misleading of Exodus to indicate that this holiday is leisurely. It may not be physically demanding, but long travelling days, early starts and a packed itinerary make this a full on tour. Don't be put off because great rewards await but do be aware of what is entailed. The same holiday over 3 weeks would be leisurely but 2 weeks is pretty crammed. We were a little concerned about the altitude before we went but only one person on the trip had any (minor) problems. So rest assured most people cope well and those that don't are usually put right with a little oxygen, which is carried on the tour bus and available in most hotels. Peru has a lot to offer and this trip gets to much of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The peace of Machu Picchu after the crowds had gone.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hardworking, well organised, very caring. You will be in good hands with Edwind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read a little about elongated skulls, Nazca lines and Inca stonework before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We did the flight over the Nazca lines in the afternoon and the flight was fairly bumpy. The main downside was trying to hold the camera steady to get any decent shots.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    steven cliffe

    superb introduction to everything Peru

    a whirlwind ride across some of the most spectacular and diverse scenery on the planet coupled with breathtaking archeological sites. The experience of this trip will last a lifetime

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    flight across Nazca lines one of the most mysterious places on earth Machu Picchu.....so wow of a spectacle it brought me to tears

    What did you think of your group leader?

    awesome facilitator and organizer making everything happen for a full on trip seamless

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    certainly a trip worthy to a top of the bucket list destination

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus are fantastic at their expertise You are in good hands for sure Can't wait for my next trip with them
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Marie Gale

    Fabulous trip in every way!

    What an absolutely amazing trip! The itinerary was full on, early starts and some long days, as the trip notes indicated, but this is necessary as there is so much to enjoy in this huge country. Peru is a wonderfully varied country and has so much to offer, interest and intrigue it's visitors. Exodus has excelled again with this itinerary, the group leader, hotels and transport and even got the timing spot on to see the condors! Small things, such as having a coach with a loo on-board, plus charging ports on the day we were heading to the homestay, make the trip more pleasurable and Exodus the excellent trip organizer it is.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Aside from Machu Pichu, seeing the condors soaring over the Colca Canyon was truly awe-inspiring. Our tour leaders timed it perfectly and we had a wonderful view for the time they remained there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edwind was phenomenonal! Nothing was too much trouble for him and his organisational and communication skills were excellent. He was always prepared to go 'above and beyond' the call of duty. He was sensitive to the mood of the group and was very attentive to those who were feeling a bit 'under the weather'/struggling with the altitude. Small gestures go a long way, such as arranging for every group member to have a burger courtesy of Exodus when we were advised not to eat the quinoa as it had been left on a warm bus. No one objected to this, but of his own volition he organized this for us all. He was patience personified! And he smiled throughout. I noticed on our last day that the tour leaders of the next two trips had left written instructions for their groups on their first evening and were not due to meet their groups until the next morning. Edwind however, met us at the airport, which was great after a long and tiring flight. His warm greeting was very welcome and this gesture typified him throughout this trip and what makes him the exceptional leader he is.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes! Pack accordingly and be prepared for some early starts and long days as this is a full-on itinerary but the trip is definitely worth it. Try not to fall asleep on the bus as you will miss so much - amazing scenery, flora and fauna, culture, geology and history. Don't hesitate to take up the optional second visit to Machu Pichu. I was uncertain about whether to go for it but I'm so pleased I did.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus has excelled again. Thank you for a wonderful trip!

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Trip Extension: If you would like to visit the Amazon Rainforest it is possible to extend your trip. For more details please refer to the Trip Notes or call our Sales team, who will be happy to assist you.

 

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