Optional single supplement from £530 - £550.
Minimum age 16.
Description of Peru holiday
This is a mammoth and magnificent 23 day Peru holiday, fully guided and travelling in a small group of maximum 16 people although the average is usually around twelve. One of the unique aspects of this country wide trip is that it offers the option to include a trek on the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu or else take the train, and see some other sights while the trekkers do their thing. If you want to trek, you need to book early as permits book out 4-6 months in advance.
Starting in Lima where we take time to have a city tour, this trip takes you on a giant circuit around the country, using a mixture of air, train, boat and private bus travel and staying in hotels along the way, with the exception of jungle lodges in the Amazon. Or camping on the Inca Trail if you opt for the trek. On the coast, travelling south from Lima, highlights include the Incas coastal town of Pachacamac where the fortress ruins can still be seen. Then a sailing trip out to the Ballestas Islands, a national park which contains the highest concentration of marine birds in the world.
Heading inland, we have many different terrains to explore, starting with the desert landscapes around Arequipa, an oasis town in the middle of it, as well as Colca Canyon, a land of ancient caves, dramatic cliffs and soaring condors. From here we start to climb into more elevated, mountainous terrain to the world famous Lake Titicaca, where Puno is the main mountain town at 3,800m.
The next Peruvian landscape to take in is the great altiplano, or high plains separating the Andes from the jungles, and which take us eventually to Cusco, the UNESCO World Heritage town that is also gateway to the Inca Trail. Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire and has a stunning location at 3,400m surrounded by snow dusted peaks. There is also an enchanting mix of contemporary trekkers and traditional Quechua culture, with colonial architecture adding to its eclectic Andean appeal. This is where the group divides, some going off to tackle the four day trek up to Machu Picchu, and others staying in Cusco for sightseeing and alternative hikes such as the Moonstone Trek, as well as taking the iconic train journey up to Machu Picchu.
As if Machu Picchu isnt a good enough high to complete this Peruvian journey, our final leg is in the Amazon rainforest, taking a flight out to the small town of Puerto Maldonado, from where we take boat and walking trips, day and night, into the most extraordinary jungles in the world, staying at the rainforest Tambopata Reserve while we are there. After this extraordinary South American journey, we fly back over some of the terrain we have covered to pick up flights home from Lima.
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3 Reviews of Peru holiday
Reviewed on 08 Aug 2017 by David KnassThe highlight was the rainforest at the end of the trip-we booked 3 extra days. Excellent. Read full review
Reviewed on 26 Sep 2016 by Julia GlizevskajaAmazing!!! All in one. I had fantastic time and really enjoyed the time, unforgettable experience in mountains. It was fantastic Read full review
Reviewed on 24 Oct 2013 by Steve BraysherThis was a fantastic experience, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The country is full of contrasts and the people are fantastic. If you are interested in bird life this is a superb destination. The trip lasts 3 weeks - I could happily have spent double that time in country - and still only scratched the surface Read full review
PlanetAccommodation and meals:
We spend 18 nights in hotels and 2 nights in jungle lodges all with en-suite facilities. For the optional Inca Trail trek, 3 nights full service camping replace 3 hotel nights. We prefer to use small businesses for our accommodation, activities and services as these are the companies which have most direct benefit to the communities which we visit. All of our hotel managers have signed a sustainability contract which ensures they employ locals and endeavour to reduce waste, whilst our campsites are very eco-friendly in terms of energy reduction. We buy all of our food to cook on the trail from local supermarkets or even indigenous groups where possible despite this sometimes being more expensive. Where meals are not included, clients are encouraged to eat at authentic restaurants or to try snacks at markets e.g. local markets in Pucusana and Pisco.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in a unique, family-run hotel that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to its limited size.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleLocal Craft & Culture:
We walk through the Huayllabamba village on the first day of the trek, which is the only community inside the trail. They sell produce and various homemade snacks, so by stopping and buying something we are providing an avenue of income for these people. There is also an optional opportunity in the Sacred Valley where clients can eat a traditional meal in the village and buy handicrafts, as well as opportunities to visit local markets in Cuzco, Aguas Calientes and elsewhere. Our local guides are able to advise clients on which products to buy and which to avoid- for example, walking sticks made of wood are one to avoid as they are potentially a product of deforestation.
A Fair Deal:
Our local partners in Peru are extremely committed to staff welfare and to protecting the environment. We operate a zero-impact policy on the Inca Trail, removing all waste from campsites and separating it so that it can easily be recycled or composted. We take a toilet tent for use in camp and during lunch, removing the need to dig holes at campsites, and we never build fires at our campsites. Our camp staff (porters, cooks and mule wranglers where used) are paid a fair wage and receive all accommodation, transport and food whilst on the trek. They are also encouraged to put environmental protection practices into use in their own communities - regular training courses are held for all staff to increase their understanding of how to protect their natural and cultural heritage.