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Machu Picchu and the Andes

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Discover the incredible 'lost city of the Incas' by rail

15 days From £3,495 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2022 Tour code: PUJ22

About the tour

The lost city of Machu Picchu and the treasures of Peru are unveiled in this unique adventure. Unforgettable experiences await you in this South American paradise, as we enjoy a blend of scenic rail journeys, excellent hotels, and enthralling historic sights.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Lima

From London Heathrow, we fly via Amsterdam to Lima, the vibrant capital city of Peru.

Day 2 - Lima

We're introduced to the city on Day 2 with a guided tour, discovering the city's more modern districts as well as its fascinating historic centre. One of the highlights of our explorations is Casa de Aliaga, the best-preserved colonial mansion in the Americas. Dating back to 1535 the house is still lived in today and boasts beautiful, grand architecture and furnishings.

Day 3 - To Arequipa

Heading to the airport this morning, we board our flight to the 'White City' of Arequipa, nicknamed due to the striking white volcanic stone known as sillar that was used to construct much of the city.

We take a guided tour of the city this afternoon, beginning at the Carmen Alto viewpoint where we take in impressive views across the city, the volcanic mountains, and the surrounding rural countryside. We continue to the traditional neighbourhood of Yanahuara, a tranquil district known for its pearly white buildings and Spanish-colonial churches.

In the heart of Arequipa, we visit the cathedral as well as the enormous complex of monastic buildings that make up the Santa Catalina Convent. Founded in 1580, the complex has a fascinating history. Behind closed doors, the nuns - daughters of aristocrats - paid little heed to the vows of poverty and silence. Each had her own servant and porcelain plates, fine tablecloths, and silver cutlery. Today, the convent has been beautifully refurbished with period furniture and paintings, and is home to about 20 nuns who live much more piously than their predecessors.

Day 4 - Arequipa

On Day 4, you're free to explore Arequipa at your own pace. There are plenty of historical sights and colourful monasteries here to seek out, or you could take it slowly and relax in one of the city's many hip cafés or restaurants.

Day 5 - Colca Canyon

We travel to Colca Valley this morning, stopping en-route at the National Reserve of Pampa Canahuas and the quaint village of Chivay, which continues to embrace its delightfully traditional stone buildings, and even has an 'Inca' bridge nearby. We also pay a visit to the town of Yanque, visiting a museum dedicated to this unique region and its people.

Day 6 - 'Mirador Cruz del Condor'

Colca Canyon itself plays host to the legendary condor, and on Day 6 we visit 'Mirador Cruz del Condor', the perfect viewpoint from which to spot these magnificent creatures soaring on thermal air currents.

Day 7 - Lake Titicaca

We take a coach this morning for Puno, enjoying scenic stops along the way. During the journey, we reach heights of up to 14,700 feet above sea level, allowing us to enjoy fabulous views across the Andes. We check into our hotel in Puno on arrival.

Day 9 - Cusco

We board the PeruRail Titicaca Train to Cusco, taking in the beautiful Andean landscapes as we journey in restored 1920s carriages through the Peruvian Highlands.

Cusco is a city of true beauty, and is regarded as the 'Archaeological Capital of the Americas' with its delightful blend of indigenous and colonial Spanish architecture. One of the most impressive attractions here are the incredible Inca walls, created from enormous granite blocks that were carved to fit together without the aid of mortar beds. It's a lasting tribute to the ingenuity of the Incas that their design has survived the test of time.

Day 10 - Cusco

Day 10   includes a sightseeing tour of this ancient capital. We take in the Plaza de Armas, in the historic centre, and San Pedro market before visiting the Temple of Koricancha, or 'Temple of the Sun'. This temple was one of the most important in the Inca Empire, and is truly a unique place to visit. Originally built around 12000 AD, it was brought to ruin during a war with Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Today, a Spanish cathedral sits on top of the original stone foundations, and there's an underground archaeological museum displaying relics from the site.

Day 11 - Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo

Our journey today takes us to the highlight of our holiday as we travel on the scenic rail route to Aguas Calientes to visit the 'Lost City of the Incas': Machu Picchu. A winding bus ride takes us all the way up to the city itself, where we are greeted by one of the most incredible sights in the world. Our local guide explains the fascinating history of this awe-inspiring site that was forgotten for 400 years and remained undiscovered until 1911. Machu Picchu is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

After time to soak up the ancient atmosphere, we join the train to Ollantaytambo, transferring by coach to our hotel.

Day 12 - Ollantaytambo

On Day 12, we admire the city's impressive fortress, which, even in ruins, is an incredible sight to behold. Next, we make our way to Chinchero by coach to experience the impressive Sunday market as well as visit its church and see some traditional weaving techniques.

Day 13 - Pisac

Driving to Pisac today, we enjoy a walk around the Inty Huatana fortress. If we look hard enough, it's possible to find the ancient Intihuatana ritual stone which was used as an astrological clock by the Incas. Literally translated, 'Intihuatana' means 'the Hitching Post of the Sun'.

We return to Cusco this afternoon, stopping off at the Awanachancha Textile Centre en route. Here, we meet the llamas, vicunas, guanacos, and alpacas who donate their coats to be transformed into a myriad of colourful cloths.

Day 14 - Lima and London

Following an internal flight to Lima this afternoon, we fly via Amsterdam to London Heathrow.

Day 15 - London

We arrive on Day 15  at London Heathrow.

Additional information

Fly Options - Regional Departures Available

To make your travel arrangements even more convenient for you, we are excited to announce that we are now offering some regional airport options outside London for this tour.

To view prices and flight options, please click the 'View Dates & Prices' button and select the departure that you are interested in as options may vary. Alternative, click the image on the left to see flight options and call us on 01904 734 111 to book.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs, Colca Valley

Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs, Colca Valley

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Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, Cusco

Costa del Sol Ramada Hotel, Cusco

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Casa Andina Private Collection hotels, Peru

Casa Andina Private Collection hotels, Peru

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Sonesta hotels, Puno and Yucay

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Train

PeruRail Titicaca Train

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Machu Picchu and the Andes

Discover the incredible 'lost city of the Incas' by rail

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Lynne Broadley
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Luke Simpson
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