Essential Peru - Inti Raymi Festival

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16 days
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$4,949 NZD
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Trip code: 
APDA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
5–18
Min age:
16

Discover southern Peru and attend 'Festival of the Sun'

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. 

Highlights

  • Attend 'The Festival of the sun' (Inti Raymi), when Cuzco is awash with dancing and processions
  • Iconic Machu Picchu by train with guided tour
  • Homestay on traditional Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca
  • Colca Canyon and its soaring condors
  • Beautiful colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent
  • Drive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley

Key information

  • 15 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night homestay with basic shared facilities
  • Travel by train, boat, private minibus/coach and one internal flight
  • Time spent at altitude
  • 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
  • Inti Raymi Festival ticket

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
0800 643 997
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.

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 Cafe Daria, 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 Sealion 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, in the heart of Peru's wine-growing region. At the Huacachina oasis just outside Ica there are high sand dunes where we may have time to try 'sand-surfing' and ride in dune buggies (optional). 

    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 (9-10 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. We overnight a couple of hours before Abancay on the road to Cuzco.

    Tampumayu Hotel (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 (3400m).

    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

    Attend Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco.

    The 'Festival of the Sun' is held in Cuzco on 24th June each year. During this time Cuzco is filled with colourful processions and other festivities include traditional dances and even animal sacrifice. In the morning we will walk to Qoricancha Temple (The Sun Temple) to see the beginning of the most important Andean religious festival in the country. Afterwards, we continue on to the Plaza de Armas (main square) to witness the first offerings to the sun while people from the four traditional Inca regions (Suyos) perform ceremonial dances. Around mid-morning we make the short journey by bus to Sacsayhuaman archaeological site, located on a hillside above Cuzco. The atmosphere is particularly evocative here, amidst the Inca ruins, as we see the most traditional Andean worship rituals in honour of Mother Earth. The ceremony finishes in the mid-afternoon, after which we will return to our hotel.

    There can be quite a bit of waiting around for the festivities to kick off today and you may want to buy a packed lunch to take with you - your leader can help arrange this if you request it the night before. 

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    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 and 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. 

    Having been trialled in 2017, new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu will be fully enforced for 2018; 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 9

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

    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 10

    Free day for optional excursions.

    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 11

    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, it is interesting and 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 offers 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 12

    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 visit the more isolated Titinos Islands for a more authentic experience.

    Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    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 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 14

    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 15

    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 16

    End Lima.

    The group flights usually depart in the afternoon, allowing time for optional sightseeing in Lima in the morning. You may wish to visit the Gold Museum or the historic downtown area. The group flight is an overnight flight to London. For land only clients, the tour ends after breakfast.

    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.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner are included in the price of the tour.

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 can not 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 are 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, Peru

Cuzco, Peru

Lima

Is this trip for you?

These departures have been scheduled to coincide with Inti Raymi 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 other festivities include traditional dances and even animal sacrifice. Cuzco itself will be very busy during the festival season.

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:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
0800 643 997
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 & Homestay

This trip spends 15 nights in hotels, all of which have en-suite 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:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
0800 643 997
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 July 2019
    Amanda Hayes

    Spectacular scenery and costumes

    A very well planned and varied itinerary that takes you up to the high altitude gradually. A lot of travelling but the spectacular scenery takes your mind off the long journeys. Good attention to health and safety throughout. The Inti Raymi festival events are a modern interpretation of the traditional Inca rituals but nonetheless wonderful to witness. The costumes and the infectious energy of the local people enjoying the festival in Cusco the day before was a great experience. It was a wonderful 'trip of a lifetime' experience and I am pleased to recommend it to other travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many moments were deeply memorable: the first sight of Machu Picchu is as breathtaking as the pictures. Our guides were delighted that the sun shone but a bit of misty cloud would have been my ideal atmospheric visual experience. The site is pristine thanks to llamas that graze and keep the grass neat and it was not over-crowded with visitors. Out homestay was a delight in so many ways: local food and traditions and a really warm and honest welcome to the family home. The Inti Raymi festivities as already mentioned. The sites that presented the Inca agricultural innovations - some of these were optional as part of the Sacred Valley tour: salt pans and agricultural laboratory terracing and I strongly recommend this additional trip. On the last morning we went to the Larco Museum. It is not included in the trip, but I think that all of the group got taxis there. It is an excellent museum with fascinating objects, well displayed and described in Spanish and English. It also has a good restaurant.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was very well organised and took great care with health and safety. Unlike some other Exodus trips that I have been on there were a lot of additional guides. It may be a Government tourism policy to employ local people but their skills and knowledge was variable from excellent at the Santa Catolina convent, to charming but poor at Machu Picchu. The number of additional people who were part of the planned programme (not the optional ones) also added to the cost of tips etc. which was well above the Exodus suggested kitty so maybe Exodus should review their estimate.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Trip Notes are for all the Exodus Peru trips so read with care and do your own research about what to take e.g. we did not have porters but I gave the children's clothes I had brought with me to the family on Amantani island, which was fine. There are a number of extra, optional activities to suit different interests. We were pleased with the choices we made but some people who did other things reported that they were disappointed because the description of what they were going to see did not match the reality. I recommend reading up in advance or with a non-listed option ensure that you get details so as to minimise the chance of disappointment. The tipping kitty only went to the male porters and not to the female chambermaids.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Justina Mclaughlin

    A magical trip

    A comprehensive cultural tour that also incorporated the different landcapes of Peru. The Inti Raymi Festival was spectacular and whilst the trip notes don't specify, we were seated in premium seats with great views at Sacsayhuaman. Its worth the extra cost to experience Inti Raymi!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Its difficult to choose just one as each day revealed some new place or aspect of Peruvian culture. Machu Pichu really is stunning and as magical as it looks in the photos. I personally found travelling through the Andes very inspirational. I hate long journeys by road (I suffer from motion sickness) and I was dreading the road journey but the scenery of the Andes really is breathtaking. So glad we traveled overland instead of flying straight to Cusco. Its inspired me to consider further overland journeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano was an excellent tour leader. He ensured all our transfers, arrivals, hotel check ins and local guided tours were well co-ordinated. He was knowledgeable on local places and history, he was also very responsive to requests from members of the group to do additional activities, vary the itinerary. As a tour leader who has previous experience of gourmet food tours he also gave us some great recommendations for eateries.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The pace of the trip is full on and everybody suffered a little with altitude. Some were very tired, others developed sinus problems, others had upset stomachs or felt nauseous. Only one encountered breathing problems and was immediately put on oxygen and handled expertly by our tour leader. I personally opted to take Diamox for altitude and had no problems breathing at altitude but I did still experience slow digestion and on occasion had an upset stomach. Fortunately I had a big bag of medical remedies from home and my advice would be to bring these with you. I recommend bringing hydration salts and over the counter remedies for an upset tummy/indigestion. I bought a ticket to hike Montana Machu Pichu 3 months in advance, for the morning of the 2nd day in Machu Pichu, . Since there are only 400 available a day, mountain hiking tickets sell out months in advance, if this is something you want to do email Exodus and they will advise you the date you need to purchase the ticket and details of timing. Be aware you have to be very fit and get up early (5am) and be back at the hotel by 2pm. Practical suggestions of things you should bring for the trip - A stash of tissues, antibacterial wipes (essential), small overnight bag/daypack and a good supply of cash. Opportunities to use credit cards are limited to the more expensive shops and restaurants. Also whilst ATMS are available, they are not always on the doorstep as you often stay in remoter locations.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The age demographic of the group took me by surprise. I was the only person there under 50, everyone else was at least over 60 and there were 17 of us. Whilst my travel companions were all good fun and young at heart I did, at times, feel like an outsider. Useful info to have: Luggage allowance on the internal flight to Lima is 23kg and you are permitted an 8kg bag in the cabin. Tipping Kitty was $83, it would have been good to know if Exodus had advised us of this in advance. It is worth having the tipping kitty as there are a lot of places where carrying our own bags could become a chore. Fortunately the bell boys and drivers did this for us and were tipped from the kitty. Shopping for artisan items is better when travelling in the Andes. If you see it and like it, grab it as you go, I found less unique items available and those that were ended up more expensive in Lima.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    george tarbuck

    Adventure of a lifetime

    The trip is excellent, coach journeys over the Andes, moonscapes and volcanoes with snow on the peaks. Machu Picchu is stunning. The condors were happy to come out and play. The hotels were good. The homestay on the island was charming and the people genuinely hospitable without being pushy. The food served to us on the homestay was the best meal I ate in Peru, simple and tasty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the condors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guiliano was the best tour leader. Always on hand to help, sorted every situation flawlessly and with a sense of calm, even when assisting one of the group with oxygen when they were unwell at altitude. What stood out was the forward planning and anticipation that Guiliano showed. We could get on with enjoying the holiday whilst knowing that everything was under control.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take American Dollars.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go on this trip.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Ian Taylor

    Essential Peru - Inti Raymi

    Fantastic trip, which was extremely well orgainised. A lot of travelling involved with some long journeys but in very comfortable coach with a toilet. The journeys were broken by interesting stops along the way, Our guide Guiliano was outstanding and looked after us extremely well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Machu Picchu with my own eyes & hiking up to the Sun Gate. Overnight Homestay with such a welcoming family on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca was an honour & privilege. Seeing the Condors soar at Colchester Canyon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guiliano was absolutely amazing, he really couldn’t do enough for us and was always enquiringly about our health every day to ensure that people knew how to cope with the altitude etc. He had the patience of a saint - even when dealing with perhaps the more challenging individuals in the group !! In the evenings he gave us the option of having a group meal for those that wished to do that and took us to a wide variety of local restaurants. This was totally unexpected and as a solo traveller I really appreciated that extra effort. He showed such passion and knowledge for his Country & was very good at explaining the history and ways of the Peruvian culture to us. His command of English was very impressive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take heed of the trip notes - it can get chilly so be prepared for that. Many of the hotels we stayed in did have electric heaters in the room but not all of them work efficiently even if there is one. Restaurants can also be cold - which I didn’t think about. Our internal flightback to Lima had a baggage allowance of 23kg not 20kg but worth double checking. Money exchange was very easy to find for both US dollars, UK Sterling and Euros, in most major towns and cities. Many shops took US Dollars in payment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Time at Machu Picchu was a bit on the tight side as the obligatory guide seemed to waste a lot of time giving us the two hour tour ( he wasn’t very good to be honest & it’s a pity Guiliano wasn’t permitted to take us around). The afternoon visit is a good idea however as the site is much less crowded. I had to choose whether to go for the Sun Gate in my free time - which I did (1hr up, 20 mins at top, 45 mins to get down (but I’m used to hiking) but then couldn’t also do the guardhouse as it was roped off by the time I got back to it. All tickets for the optional sunrise visit the following morning were sold out by the time we got to Aguas Callientes. Not sure if it could have been bought online in advance but might be something Exodus needs to look at. On your second day walk along the riverside to the local Museum its well worth the time as they have a fantastic exhibit telling both the history and discovery and clearance of the Machu Picchu site ( beside the Botanic Gardens - which aren’t up to much - but included in the entrance fee). Take ID with you as they asked for a passport or equivalent.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Leah Gaynor

    Beyond my expectations

    Guiliano was absolutely amazing. I couldn't have asked for anything more from the trip! There is some long drives as stated but the views and the stops you make are unreal!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu is a pinch yourself can't beleive I'm here moment. My highlight of the trip!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guiliano was fantastic. He couldn't do enough to help us all out. He was knowledgeable of his home country and had so many facts I've bought home with me. I honestly can't say enough about him. I hope any other trip I do I have a guide half what he was!

Dates & Prices

 

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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An in-depth discovery of southern Peru from the Andes to the Amazon

Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures

Culture
22 days Excl. Flights
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
4.8 / 5
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