Essential Peru - Inti Raymi Festival

17 days
from
£2,899
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Trip code: 
APDA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Festival Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–18

Discover the highlights of southern Peru and attend Inti Raymi Festival

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
  • Group normally 4 to 18, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by train, boat, private minibus/coach and one internal flight
  • Time spent at altitude
  • 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
  • Inti Raymi Festival ticket

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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.

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to Lima.

    The 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. Your leader may give a short welcome briefing upon arrival to the hotel, or they may decide to wait until the following day when everyone is feeling rested after a good night’s sleep.
    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). Here we take a boat to the Ballestas Islands, a national park that contains one of the highest concentrations of marine birds in the world. There are sea lions, numerous species of birds and the Paracas Candelabra, a curious pre-Inca design on the hillside, only recognisable from the sea. The boat trip lasts around 2 hours, and once we're back on dry land we drive for around an hour 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 to Nazca, arriving in the afternoon with time to visit the viewing platforms close to the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand. For those who wish, there is usually time to take a scenic flight over Nazca Lines (additional cost), weather permitting.
    Casa Andina Hotel (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 (10-12 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, so 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 (3,400m).
    Inkarri Hotel (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 are 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 for these sites and many others is recommended - please see the Optional Exursion 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.
    Inkarri Hotel (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.
    Inkarri Hotel (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 have an early morning transfer (around 05.30am) to Ollantaytambo train station. The railway line follows the Urabamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu) and then we take a short bus ride up the winding road to the ruins. Your leader will give you a two/three hour guided tour of the ruins and afterwards there will be free time to explore at your leisure. There are some spectacular walks around the site that you may wish to do, including following the path to the Inca Drawbridge or even up to the Sun Gate for that iconic view of the ruins.
    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 hot springs and buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins - or for those who want to explore more of Machu Picchu, there is the option to return for sunrise; much the most peaceful time of day to appreciate the site.

    In the afternoon we board the train back to Ollantaytambo and then continue by minibus to Cuzco, arriving in the late evening.
    Inkarri Hotel (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 for you. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.
    Inkarri Hotel (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 along the route to help break up the day and all along the route we get a feeling for 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 provided today).
    Amantani Island homestay, Lake Titicaca

    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 Uros 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.
    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 - a warming pleasure after the chill of Lake Titicaca.
    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 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 / Hotel Meliana (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

    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 17

    Arrive London.

    The group flights arrive back into 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 Peru. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We 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 but often your leader will offer to buy large containers of drinking water that you can refill a bottle from for a nominal charge. This usually works out cheaper and is more environmentally responsible than buying plastic water bottles.

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 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. The coastal desert including Lima, is generally dry but cloudy through most of the year. The exception is January to March when the skies are clear and the temperatures rise.

In Cuzco and the Andes, April to November is the dry season; during these months the sky is generally bright and clear with strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud rolling up from the Amazon basin, rain or even snow, and rapid and unexpected changes! During the dry season temperatures at night can dip to around the freezing mark (and sometimes below!), particularly around Lake Titicaca. The chart above only shows average temperatures; daytime and night time extremes in the Andes, particularly in the dry season can be very different to these.

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.

Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco, Peru

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 can take up to 12 hours. The 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.

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 festival season.

This trip spends considerable time at altitude - please see the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for more information and advice on how to limit the effects of altitude sickness. 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. Our highest sleeping altitude is at Lake Titicaca which is 3,800m.

Many of the Inca sights, including Machu Picchu, are built on hillsides or on terraces and involve walking up and down steep steps or slopes. Good mobility and a reasonable level of fitness are therefore required for the sightseeing on this trip.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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 & 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 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.

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 throughout for an optional single supplement of From £410, 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.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 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

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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.

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