Grand Tour of Peru, including Paracas & Nazca Lines

FROM £4,695
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
This comprehensive tour of Peru includes the rugged Paracas Pensinsula & Ballestas Islands, with their amazing birds & marine life, as well as a flight over the fascinating Nazca Lines. Visit Arequipa, the Colca Canyon & Lake Titicaca, as well as the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, the citadel at Machu Picchu and the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. English speaking guides, all transfers & excursions included.
Tour of Peru with Machu Picchu, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Nazca Lines &  Amazon
Colca Canyon
Lake Titicaca
Cusco & Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu
Amazon Basin
Paracas Peninsula
Ballestas Islands
Nazca Lines
Colca Canyon
Lake Titicaca
Cusco & Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu
Amazon Basin
Paracas Peninsula
Ballestas Islands
Nazca Lines
Day 1
You will be met at Lima Airport and transferred to your hotel.
Check in and relax in this capital city - the largest in Peru and its gastronomical centre.
Day 2
Transfer to Lima Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Arequipa Airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in this second largest city in Peru, surrounded by three magnificent volcanoes.
Check in and relax in this Ciudad Blanca ("White City") - the old Spanish colonial capital, with its many beautiful baroque buildings constructed from white volcanic stone.
Day 3
This morning enjoy a half day private tour of Arequipa, an important regional capital that is the seat of the Constitutional Court.
We start with a walking tour around the elegant Plaza de Armas (the main square) with its neo-Renaissance Cathedral and the magnificent Church of the Jesuits, with its multicolored dome and hundreds of pieces of colonial art. The Convent at Santa Catalina will be a highlight, as it is practically an entire city within a city, with its narrow cobblestone alleys, plazas and cloisters that have remained intact over centuries.
We continue to the Carmen Alto Lookout for spectacular views of the city’s three surrounding volcanoes - Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. You can admire the attractive natural scenery that surrounds the city, including Inca terraces still used for crop cultivation, see the well-maintained colonial houses of the district and its famous temple, and visit the Yanahuara lookout for more magnificent views of Misti.
The afternoon is at leisure to explore more of Arequipa independently.
Day 4
This morning join your shared tour and travel 3.5-hours to the magnificent Colca Canyon, a popular hiking and bird watching destination that is renowned for its giant condors.
We travel through the towns of Yura and Pampa Arrieros, and the Salinas & Aguada Blanca National Reserve with its volcanoes and wetlands, frequented by Andean flamingos in season. Nearly 140 different species of birds have been observed here including blue billed ducks, eagles and kestrels. It is also the ideal place to see small herds of South American camelids (llama, vicuna and alpacas) in their natural habitat.
We continue driving through Torja, with its natural lagoons, to Patahuasy. Chucura is the highest point of the journey at 4,800 meters above sea level. At Patapampa we will see the volcanoes of the Chira Mountains, where the well-preserved Mummy Juanita (or Inca Ice Maiden) was found. Enjoy an included lunch in Chivay, before relaxing at your hotel for the rest of the afternoon.
Day 5
We make an early start today as we drive 1-hour by air-conditioned coach to the Colca Canyon - the third deepest in the world, plunging 0,6 miles (1 km) from its vertical rim to the river below. The breathtaking scenery here is dominated by the snow-capped peak of Mismi Nevado, the source of the Amazon River.
In the small village of Yanque you can see traditional dancing by school children, before continuing to the Cross of the Condor, one of the most popular viewing points over the canyon. With a drop of over 1,200m this is an ideal location to observe the majestic flight of the giant Condor - the largest bird in the world. Weather permitting, you should see several of these magnificent birds as they stand sentinel on the lofty crags or use thermals to circle up from the depths of the canyon against breathtaking scenery. The best viewing conditions are in the early morning (8 to 9.30 am), from April to September.
Further down the valley it is gentler and greener, with huge pre-Inca terraces carved over the centuries by isolated communities who still live here and wear traditional intricately woven costumes. On the way back admire the beauty of the canyon and the fertile valley below.
After an included buffet lunch, leave Chivay and travel 5-hours by air-conditioned coach to Puno, travelling through beautiful Andean scenery. Along the way we stop at a viewsite overlooking the 'Lagunillas' - small lagoons that are home to Andean & Chilean flamingos, as well as Giant coot, Andean hillstar, Puna plover, Puna snipe, Silvery grebe & Mountain parakeet.
On arrival check into your hotel in Puno - a lively university town situated on the shore of Lake Titicaca with several churches dating back to the Spanish colonial period. Puno is an important centre for Peruvian folklore, with a rich tradition of music and dance, and this is a great place to buy local handicrafts.
Day 6
Today enjoy a full day excursion to Uros and Taquile Islands on Lake Titicaca - which at 3,800 m above sea level is the highest lake in the world navigable by large boats. There are over 40 small islands dotted around this enormous inland sea.
A boat will be waiting at the port to take us to the unique floating islands of Uros, made from layers of tortora reeds. Uros Indian fishermen and hunters withdrew here to escape the invading Spanish and preserve their own culture. As a source of income, the residents of these man-made reed islands offer optional rides on their distinctive totora reed boats.
We continue to Taquile Island situated deeper in Lake Titicaca, where the local Quechua speaking Indians have kept intact the customs and traditions of their ancestors, including their incredible knitting skills. The island is 4.5 miles (7 km) long, without any roads or vehicles, and its terraced hills are scattered with pre-Inca ruins. Walk up a steep hill to the main plaza, where you can buy local handicrafts including some of the finest hand knitted items in all of Peru. A boxed lunch and private guide are included today, with a shared boat ride.
Note: Lake Titicaca is situated at high altitude (12,500 ft / 3,800 m). Taquile Island is very steep, so is not recommended if you have mobility problems. Ask about alternative excursions.
Day 7
This morning transfer to Puno Railway Station in good time to board the PeruRail Train departing for Cusco.
This spectacular 10-hour train journey travels across remote highland plains, at time flanked by snow-capped peaks. The narrow gauge track wends its way through rural fields and across Andean landscapes dotted with adobe huts, herds of llama and alpaca. Enjoy an included 3-course meal with soft drink, red or white wine (pay for bar and specialty coffees) and traditional Peruvian folk music. Be sure to look out from the observation car when you travel through these small towns, to see how market stalls are cleared to make way for the train .
You will be met at Cusco Railway Station and transferred to your hotel. Check in, settle in and relax in this ancient Inca capital city set high in the Andes Mountains, that is today a World Heritage Site.
Note: The train runs from Puno to Cusco on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. On other days a coach transfer will be substituted. Remember to take a daypack for the train, as your luggage will be stowed in the baggage car.
Day 8
Today enjoy a half day shared tour of the magnificent colonial city of Cusco, built on Inca foundations and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Comprising a fascinating mix of colonial churches, monasteries and extensive pre-Columbian ruins, almost every central street in this city has remnants of Inca walls.
We start with a visit to the impressive Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) whose walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold. On the site of this ancient Inca palace and centre of worship of the Sun God, the Dominicans ordered a church to be built, which survives to this day (Note: not open on Sunday mornings & religious holidays).  
We walk along the cobbled streets to the Plaza de Armas, the central plaza around which you will see many magnificent colonial buildings - including the Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Walking down well-preserved Loreto Street you can see the remains of Incan palaces, as well as old colonial buildings. If you walk down Hatun Rumiyoc, a cobbled street near the Archbishop's Palace, keep an eye out for the famous 12-sided stone that fits so perfectly you can't even insert a coin.
We then leave the city and visit the impressive walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman (meaning 'speckled falcon') on the northern outskirts, believed to have been both a military and ceremonial centre. This enormous Inca structure has massive walls of hewn stone and is strategically located on a hill overlooking the city. We also visit Qenko (meaning 'zigzag') where the sun, moon and stars were worshipped and Puca Pucara (the Red Fortress), which may have been a "tambo" or rest and lodgings for the Inca. Finally we visit an art workshop, where you will be able to see artists working in silver, paint and wood - the perfect place to see Andean art.
After your tour, if you are feeling adventurous you can try guinea pig - a local speciality.
Note: Cusco is situated at high altitude (11,150 ft / 3,400 m). You will need to carry your passport to gain access to the site at Sacsayhuaman.
Day 9
This morning we travel 2-hours to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Along the way we visit the town of Pisac, famous for its ruins that lie at the top of a hill at the entrance to the valley and are separated into four groups - P'isaqa, Inti Watana, Q'allaqasa, and Kinchiraqay. We visit the Inti Watana group which includes the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains, a ceremonial platform, and an inti watana - a volcanic ritual stone used as an astronomic clock or Inca calendar to define the change seasons. The narrow rows of terraces beneath the citadel are thought to represent the wing of a partridge (pisaca), from which the village and ruins get their name.
We continue to the colourful Pisac Market, where all the artisans of the region get together to buy and sell their products. This is an excellent opportunity to barter for goods and crafts typical of the area.
After an included lunch in the Sacred Valley, you will be dropped off at your hotel.
Day 10
Today enjoy a full day shared tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
We start at the Racchi viewpoint, for one of the best views of the Sacred Valley. We then drive to the archaeological site at Moray, where the Incas built enormous circular agricultural terraces on steep hills by hauling topsoil up by hand from the lower land, thereby generating much higher crop yields than would have been possible at such high altitude. This site is believed to be a former agricultural laboratory, an astronomical observatory or a place of worship - or maybe all three.
We continue to the Maras Salt Pans, a complex network of nearly 5,000 pre-Inca salt pans that have been hand-harvested by local families for thousands of years. The salt is formed when water from a spring that permeates these pools is evaporated by the intense sun, forming thick crystals in a variety of colours. The naturally pink ‘Sal de Maras’ is one of the finest salts in the world, getting its beautiful hue from trace elements in the spring water.
After an included lunch in a local restaurant, we continue to the citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to protect the northern entrance to the Sacred Valley from invasion and later the centre of Incan resistance against the Spanish. The fortress and walled terraces of this town provide some of the finest examples of Incan architecture, with the six rose-coloured monoliths of the Temple of the Sun being particularly outstanding. The village itself is the best surviving example of Inca urban planning, with stone-paved streets that have been used since the 12th Century.
Day 11
Today transfer to Ollantaytambo Station for the air-conditioned Vistadome train to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu - an amazing 1.5-hour journey to this magnificent mountain top city situated in a beautiful cloud forest, that was abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911.
This legendary 'Lost City of the Incas' is without a doubt one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built on the summit of Machu Picchu (meaning "Old Peak"), on a natural saddle between steep forested mountains, it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River some 3,400 m above sea level. With its giant walls, terraces and ramps that appear to have been cut naturally out of the rock escarpments, Machu Picchu's history remains shrouded in mystery as the Incas did not leave any written records.
At the gateway town of Aguas Calientes, leave the train and board the bus for the 40-minute zig-zag ride up to this 14th century citadel for a guided tour (please expect queues for the bus). Here we visit the Main Plaza, Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds.
In the afternoon return by bus to Aguas Calientes and take the 3.5-hour train back to Cusco, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Note: You must take your passport with you today, as this will be needed to gain entrance, which is restricted to 4-hours (based on either a morning or afternoon schedule). It is mandatory to enter with a guide and you cannot take selfie sticks, tripods, umbrellas, food or alcohol onto the site. You may not wear high heels or hard soled shoes and smoking is prohibited. If you leave the sanctuary for any reason (eg for lunch), re-entry will not be permitted. Only one bag not exceeding 11 lb (5 kg) is allowed as hand luggage on the train, so your main bags need to be left in luggage store at either your Cusco or Sacred Valley hotel, for later collection by yourself or our ground handler. From January to June parts of the rail track may be impassable at times due to mud slides, when a bus transfer will be substituted.
Day 12
Transfer to Cusco Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Puerto Maldonado Airport and transferred to town. Here you will be asked to take only the necessary items for the next few days and leave the rest in safekeeping to keep the boat and cargo light (bring a suitable overnight sports bag with you for this purpose).
You will then be driven 1-hour by bus to the Tambopata River for your boat ride to your Amazon lodge. This scenic river transfer takes up to 2.5 hours upstream, depending on the location of your lodge, and includes a light traditional lunch.
On arrival walk 15-minutes to your lodge, check in and relax in your tropical jungle surroundings.
Days 13 To 14
Explore the birds and wildlife of the amazing Amazon Basin today - a 2,7-million square mile (6.7 million sq.km) conservation area that is the largest in the world, spreading across nine countries - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana.
Your naturalist guide will accompany you along the many trails that wind through the rainforest. As you walk through woods and past waterfalls, you can marvel at the magnificent trees and the extraordinary variety of orchids, bromeliads, ferns, begonias, lichens and mosses that grow here.
You may see caimans (related to alligators), turtles, woolly monkeys, tufted brown capuchin monkeys, a variety of frogs and many other reptiles and insects. You can hope to see some of the colourful birds of the rainforest such as the brilliant golden-headed quetzal, grey-breasted mountain toucan, blue-crowned motmot, umbrella bird, blue-banded toucanet, fruit-eating tanager, red-crested cotinga, banded-tail fruit-eater and a variety of flycatchers. At certain locations, from September to November you may see the raucously competitive lek mating displays of the spectacular Cock-of-the-Rock, Peru’s fiery orange national bird. Jaguars also live along the riverbanks, but are rarely seen.
Activities vary by lodge but can include climbing an observation tower for treetop views of the forest canopy and to observe birds (macaws are most active from August to October and least active in May & June), walking in the rainforest and canoe rides in search of hoatzin (stinkbird), otters, macaws and other wildlife. You can also learn about traditional medicinal plants, visit a local village and take a night walk in the jungle.
Note: A headlamp is essential in the Amazon.
Day 15
Transfer by boat 1.5-hours downstream to Puerto Maldonado, followed by a 1-hour bus transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Pisco Airport and transferred to the small fishing port of Paracus.
After checking in to your hotel, do try a Pisco Sour - the nation's favourite drink.
Day 16
Today transfer to Pisco Airport to experience a 1.5-hour shared light aircraft flight, including flying 30-minutes over the famous Nazca Lines.
From the plane you will be able to see hundreds of these gigantic shallow-line geometric figures. Over 1,500 years ago they were etched into the desert floor with impressive precision by the Nazca culture, by removing the red pebbles from the topsoil and exposing the white/grey ground beneath. The figures range from simple lines to more complex designs such as a flower, tree, hummingbird, spider, monkey, fish, shark, killer whale, lizard, llama, jaguar, monkey and human figure. The largest figures are over 200 m (660 ft) across.
Note: You will need your passport for the Nazca Lines flight, which is weather dependant.
Day 17
This morning enjoy a 2-hour excursion by motorboat to the Ballestas Islands in the Bay of Paracus, passing by the mysterious 2,500-year old "Candelabra of the Andes" - an immense design drawn in the sand dunes of the northern Paracas Peninsula that never disappears, despite the blustery sand storms that sweep this desolate coast.
One of the most important marine reserves in the world, the arches and caves of Paracas National Reserve offer shelter to thousands of sea lions and a wide range of seabirds - including the albatross, boobie, Guanay cormorant and Peruvian pelican. If you are lucky you may see a Humboldt penguin or a dolphin.
Day 18
After a morning at leisure in Paracas, transfer 3.5-hours to Lima.
Check into your hotel in this capital city.
Day 19
This morning enjoy a half day tour of historic Lima, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved architecture. Founded in 1535, it was re-named the "City of Kings" when it was conquered by the Spanish and became the most important centre in the region.
Our tour starts in the Miraflores residential district and modern San Isidro, where we see the impressive Huaca Huallamarca, an adobe pyramid that was a sacred pre-Inca site. We also stop at Parque del Amor (Lover’s Lane) with its magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean.
We continue to the historic centre, where we visit the 17th century Santo Domingo Convent which is a World Heritage site. The remains of the patron saint of Peru, Saint Rose of Lima, are interred here as well as the remains of Saint Martin of Porres, the patron saint of people of mixed race.
On the Plaza de Armas (main square) you can see many imposing colonial buildings with their intricate balconies - including the Presidential Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place. See the beautiful Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace and the City Hall.
Afterwards transfer to Lima Airport for your flight home. Before you leave do try to taste a Pisco Sour, the nation's favourite drink.
Note: Lima Cathedral is not open on Sundays.

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