Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

Essential Peru

16 days
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£2,499
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4.6 / 5 from 117 reviews >
Trip code: 
APD
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–18

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

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:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

On this trip we use the services of a local operator, employing a local leader and local staff throughout the trip. We stay in locally-owned hotels wherever possible. The homestay on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca is a positive exchange actively encouraging group members to talk to locals and learn about traditional customs - the income from our stay is divided amongst the island community. There is also an optional excursion to the Sacred Valley which includes eating a traditional meal in a rural village.

We include drinking water, provided in large containers to refill a reusable bottle from, to reduce the amount of single use plastic. Where meals are not supplied, your leader will be able to recommend local cafes, restaurants and markets to get a bite. There are plenty of opportunities to purchase local products, handicrafts and street food on this holiday, such as Mercado San Pedro in Cuzco and at the market stalls on La Raya Pass.

The entrance fees for the sites we visit, including Machu Picchu, help support their maintenance, restoration and upkeep. We visit many museums, churches and cathedrals in Lima, Arequipa, and Cuzco.

Café Daria is the first vocational training site for young adults with special needs. Students are trained across all aspects of hospitality and the food is prepared by the students on site. It's a great way to interact with locals, while also giving those who would normally be isolated from society the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Exodus support this cafe, and you will have the opportunity to visit it in Cuzco if you wish. 

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to Lima.

    The group flights arrive into Lima this evening. You 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. At the Huacachina oasis just outside of 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. Tonight, we stay a couple of hours near to 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 (3,400m).

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Free day to explore Cuzco.

    Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. 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 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

    Depart 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
  • Day 16

    Arrive London.

    The group flights arrive in London this afternoon.

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 (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.

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 (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.

New List of Regulations for visiting Machu Picchu (which apply from July 1st 2018).

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.

These new regulations will affect how long you are able to spend at Machu Picchu.  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.

Schedule of visit to Machu Picchu on this itinerary:

  • 12pm access to Machu Picchu to explore upper part with the tour leader.
  • 14.00pm start the guided tour.
  • 16.30pm passengers leave Machu Picchu.
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
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

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed October 2018
    Wendy Tutty

    Essential Peru

    This was a fabulous adventure! Recounting it to friends at home, it seems incredible that we saw and experienced so much - or travelled so many miles in a relatively short time. It was not an easy trip with lots of early starts and long road journeys and several times I found myself a little out of my comfort zone but the group was mutually supportive and our leader Sebastian was a true professional. Everything was carefully planned - we always had drinkable water, hotels were ready for us and always happy to store our luggage for us if we were away for a few days. Our ascent to altitude was carefully managed and none of us became sick. Each evening Sebastian would invite us to eat with him. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't but he always made a huge effort to make sure that he chose a restaurant which catered for everyone - even a non meat, fish and egg eating almost vegan like myself! His love for his country was infectious and his knowledge impressive - all of this helped to make the holiday memorable and he was always generous with his time, going out of his way to cater for those who wanted to do things apart from the group. Thankyou Sebastian - great memories - some of them very funny!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult one! I loved the Nazca lines by light aircraft - Cusco, Colca Canyon, Arequipa and of course Machu Picchu all jostle for first place.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As previously stated, he was excellent - knowledgeable, well organised, unflappable, scrupulously honest (at the end of our trip he gave us change from our tips kitty), amusing and very very kind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you go well equipped and be prepared for some very basic condition at the homestay.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    K R

    Qué paja el Perú !

    Before I went on this holiday, anyone I talked to about Peru seemed to equate it principally with Machu Picchu and Inka trails. Frankly, as beautiful and wondrous as MP is, there is SO MUCH more to Peru. At every level of altitude, the country offers different scenery, flora, fauna, cultures (indigenous, colonial, urban, rural, affluence, poverty, religions, food, drink etc) and different experiences in general including star gazing. The itinerary of this trip gives a very good spread of exposure as to what is available to enjoy/sample in Peru. Yes, it is fast paced but it is invigorating for those of us who think a change is as good as a rest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying with Flora, our homestay host. She was a true joy to meet and talk with. She is a tough, extremely hardworking, gentle and warmhearted woman and an excellent cook. She was full of determination to do the very best for her children (they were studying medicine and law) even though it meant an incredibly hard life for her to meet those costs. It was an privilege to be able to stay with her and she made our stay as comfortable as she could.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sebastian a) has an excellent command of English, is well informed and was informative without boring us with a litany of facts b) did not B.S. (very important) if he didn't know but checked and came back c) was enthusiastic about his country d) was effortlessly highly efficient/organised e) warm, charming, friendly with a good sense of humour f) accommodated the various needs of the group and looked after us extremely well without being suffocating; plus guided those who needed it and didn't cramp the independence of those who wanted it g) chatted with each of us to find our particular interests and helped us achieve them eg wine tasting or dancing etc (over and above requirements) h) is an excellent ambassador both for Peru and equally importantly Exodus - many in the group were new to Exodus and are now wishing to continue with using Exodus i) took a very responsible approach to tourism within Peru and gave what seemed a balanced view of the cultural situation in Peru j) had inexhaustible energy throughout the trip k) spoke to those of us who wanted to improve our Spanish in Spanish where appropriate ie not excluding others who did not speak Spanish from the conversation. Very impressive and up in the top two of best guides I've had both as a seasoned Exodus customer and an independent traveller.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you suffer from motion sickness, consider whether you want to do the Nazca flight. It is quite nauseating and somewhat hot and claustrophobic in the Cessna planes used. Due to all types of weather encountered, the previous advice concerning layers is key. Good waterproofs also should be taken because when it rains it is likely to be a deluge.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a super bunch of people that formed this group which was a blessing and added significantly to the enjoyment of the holiday. The co-travellers were interesting, good humoured, caring, amusing and collaborative. That said, if you do not have a similar group when you travel, it need not negatively affect your experience because the nature of Exodus trips is that they afford you the ability to be pretty independent within the scope of the travel arrangements that form the itinerary.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sharon Holmes

    An amazing trip of a life-time!

    This was my first experience of Exodus and I was very impressed. All of the communication prior to travelling was excellent and this continued with my arrival in Lima and for the next 15 days. Our Tour Leader, Sebastian, was amazing (see below). I was also really impressed with the fact that local experts were drafted in to support Sebastian and add to our understanding of this vast country - these local guides e.g. one in Cuzco, one around Lake Titicaca and one in the Colca Valley/Arequipa all lived in their local area and were able to provide us with their own expertise which just added to the whole experience. My 16 fellow travellers also helped to make the whole experience truly unforgettable. We all supported and looked after each other and got on very well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were too many really to say. Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time was incredible and the Andean Condors gliding above us and through the Colca Canyon were amazing. Angelito, our local guide, managed our expectations by saying that sometimes the Condors do not appear but we were incredibly spoilt with around 15 of them flying above us. Being able to stay in the home of a local family on Amantani Island was also incredible; hearing how they live their lives from day to day and giving us a glimpse of this, albeit, for less than 24 hours, was a humbling experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sebastian was wonderful and truly made the trip for me. His wit, humour, intellect and knowledge of Peru surpassed all of my expectations. He looked after us from beginning to end by staying in the same hotel as us every night, providing us with his mobile number and making himself accessible 24/7 and we had the option to dine with him every night where he would take us to some interesting restaurants. In addition, every day was filled with fun and laughter - thanks, in the main, to him - he answered all of our questions and provided us with a great understanding of his homeland. He catered for our every whim e.g. we wanted to go to a salsa club in Cuzco then Sebastian took us; when almost all of the group went on a flight to see the Nazca Lines then he took the remaining 3 of us to a local museum in Ica - nothing was ever too much trouble for him and he refused to allow us to go on our own even if we offered. I speak Spanish and love to practice so Sebastian would speak with me in Spanish - he was amazing! Every Exodus adventure needs a Sebastian!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some parts of the trip where uphill climbing is needed - whilst not intense, the altitude can contribute to a feeling of weariness at these times and this should be considered. I think Exodus provide excellent advice on how to prepare for this trip and so I have not much more to add. I would definitely take advantage of the single supplement when travelling alone as the group is amazing but the trip is pretty full on and some down time on your own is very beneficial.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group gelled very well and this also contributed to the amazing experience because we looked out for each other and supported each other. We all seemed to get on very well which was very important as we spent a lot of time together.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Lee Stephen

    Perutastic

    A great and very enjoyable trip with a very good guide / tour leader (Daniel). Such varied culture, food and scenery too. I felt like I learned and saw a lot. My one recommendation would be to make sure you read the trip notes carefully before you go / book. You cover a lot of ground (long distances) at times in order to and pack everything in. So there are some long travel days and plenty of early starts.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The home stay with local family on an island in Lake Titicaca will stay with me for. A long time to come. Loved it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A very good and very very knowledgable tour leader. Looked after us all very very well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long travel days, in order to cover so much ground and fit everything in - and plenty of early starts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Fiona Mitchell

    Amazing itinery, varied and comphrehensive

    Essential trip covers the highlights in 2 weeks covering Andes and Desert Peru comprehensively (Jungle would be an additional bolt on). The itinery was key for me choosing this trip with Machu Pichu, Nazca lines, Lake Tititica, Ballestros Islands, Colyca Canyon and cities of Arequipa and Lima visited. This packs in a good mix of history (Inka and earlier), wildlife (Penguins, Condors and Flamingoos as well as Camelids and culture. Cities and landscape covered. It is on the trip notes but Peru Georgraphy is big and the drives often on mountain roads were felt by most of group! But great chance to see changing Andes landscapes .....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Homestay on Lake great opportunity to meet the community and learn how they are developing island

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Presents for homestay, more options by bringing from UK and the thought is appreciated Our group had minor altitude impacts only, but if you are worried ask your GP for drugs in UK as the guides do not recommend buying locally. Having said that if you did get ill the local guides were great to arrange doctors to visit hotel.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Clive Barham

    Awesome Peru

    Very long bus rides but to great places.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Beautiful sunny day at Machu Picchu.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fernando - very enthusiastic, full of detailed knowledge, always keen to do the best for us. Nothing was too much.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for potential tummy troubles ! Avoid non-bottled water/ice/salad. Also altitude hit some of us - keep hydrated.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Alexandra Tindall

    Essential Peru Trip

    This was an adventure trip. There was long bus journeys but you see the country as it is. We stayed in Lima in the Miraflores region a day before the trip which I am glad we did. We only managed to do half the trip as my husband got acute mountain sickness. We enjoyed the Ballestas islands especially the rock formations. We seen the Naza lines a couple from the tower , the rest from the aeroplane. The aeroplane did make me feel nauseous with the plane banking from one side to the other so everyone could see. I am really glad I seen them though. We then went to Cusco. Cusco was a lot bigger than I thought. I liked the Historic district of where we stayed in the hotel. We then went to Ollytambo. We only went there because there were strikes than would have stopped us getting out of Cusco and Exodus arranges at short notice to leave a day early and go to Ollytambo. I think they should include Ollytambo in the tour it was a lovely village and there are a lot of ruins you can visit. We then went to Machu Picchu which I enjoyed. I did think the guide would take us round the buildings, but he only did a couple as he spent too long explaining the Solstace etc. I would rather have spent more time going round the buildings with the guide. We did have free time here too to go around on your own which was good. We then went back to Cusco. Which was the end of the tour for us. We missed staying with a local family on Amantani Isalnd, Lake Titicaca, Puno , Cocoa canyon and Arequipa which was a shame. I enjoyed the part of the trip we did.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a Machu Picchu as I have wanted to visit it for some years now.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sabastian was really good . He is a credit to Exodus. He explained things all the time about the trip and what was going to happen. He handled all the changes caused through the strikes and had regular meetings to inform the group. He chose lovely restaurants to have our meals. He would find out answers to anything you asked if he did not know the answer straight away. He had arranged for the doctor to come to the hotel when my husband got ill. He came to the hospital that night and came back with me in the early hours of the morning. Because the tour had a free day in Cusco the next day ,he accompanied me to the hospital in the morning and the afternoon . He then arranged for someone else from Exodus to come to the hospital and help me and my husband for the week he was in ICU.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the tablet for Altitude sickness it may help. Nobody knows who is susceptible to altitude sickness until they actually get it. If you get any signs of it tell your guide and accept help. Read all the joining instructions and make sure you take everything that is recommended it will make your journey more comfortable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked more time to go in the pools and relax at the hotels. I liked the hotel at Ollytambo but we did not have time to really see it , it would have been nice to have spent longer there. It may have been better to miss out the Ballestas islands and fly from Lima to Nazca as the scenery is dry desert all the way and it was a very long drive, then more time would be available at hotels to relax a bit before the longer journeys and you could add in Ollytambo.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Rachael Hardbattle

    A fantastic trip full of variety with amazing places to visit

    A trip well worth taking. The amazing places we visited took our breath away at times. Even on the long travel days the views were spectacular making time fly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lake Titicaca and the reed islands

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sebastian was very good - a warm man with a good sense of humour. He was tested during our trip due to travellers becoming unwell. He still made sure everyone else was ok which was very professional. He is now trying to help me with some lost shopping in Cusco which I am very thankful for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    What to wear is tricky due to the forever changing climatic conditions. So be sure to pack layers!!
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Catherine Lander

    Amazing trip

    An unforgettable trip. Saw so many amazing things. The scenery is spectacular and I just sat looking out of the window throughout the long journeys- not a moment was wasted. The natural landscape is so majestic and yet there will be a track winding up the hillside and terracing right to the top. The power of nature and the ingenuity of people is humbling and intriguing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I walked on my own along the path to the Inca Bridge and, although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, felt very small and a bit vulnerable knowing one trip or slip and I could fall a very long way- people would have walked this type of path, with their children, carrying everything in the past. I think the geography and landscape was what took my breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Daniel Ramos was brilliant. He had so much knowledge and passion for the history, cultures and geography of the country, which he shared with us. He looked after us all so well. Thank you.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it. When Peruvians say it is cold, to those of us from England it was a summer day we would be very happy with! We needed less warm clothes and more hot weather clothes :-)
  • Reviewed June 2018
    graham roscoe

    Essential Peru- What a trip, I would recommend to all

    This was a fantastic holiday.with a good balance of experiances, tastes and transport. There were long bus journeys but the scenery was so amazing you will see the local wild life, Alpaca's, Condor's plus many others it was never boring, even an erupting volcano on our trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many, the trip to Machu Picchu, the homestay with mamma Flora,the floating island experience, Colca Canyon and Arequipa plaza's. Cusco and Arequipa city plaza areas are well worth spending time strolling about looking at the colonial buildings both day and night. Visiting on route the churches, cathedrals and convents was really inspiring and interesting either with or without a guide ( most have English translations) We were very fortunate to be there at the Corpus Christie festival in Arequipa what an experience it was.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sebastion was our tour leader, he did an excellent job looking after us, taking us out at night to eat in a variety of restaurants. He gathered us all together at convenient times to inform us of the following days detailed plan including how long on the coach and times between stops. His plan and timing were very accurate, with good stopping places and the viewpoints had good facilities. A very knowledgeable capable tour leader well travelled both in Peru and the rest of the world. I would be very happy to have Sebastion as my tour leader on every trip I undertake. He is an great asset to the company, well done.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Early morning starts were part of the tour ( we had additional early starts due to local strikes) these were cold to start with but by 0800 on most days the sun was up warming us up. The coaches we used had onboard toilet facilities but we had organised stop also at regular intervals. The Exodus office team did an excellent job rearranging hotels and flights due to the local strikes taking place. The local guides helped us get detailed information and a big thanks to Elious ( home stay guide) and Jenny (Colca Canyon guide). The recommended spending money for meals was accurate, ATMs and banks were found when somebody wanted them so no issues, retaurants took cards. Listen to the advice from the guide and tour leaders they are locals and know the expected conditions and potential outcomes. Look into altitude sickness before you go it can affect anyone -you will be at 4900 meters

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The tour was great Ive ticked it off the bucket list. It was great to be with a group of people who were so like minded

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

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.

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

 

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