London – Lima
Arrive in Lima, the City of Kings, in the early evening. You’ll be met and taken to your hotel, an original colonial-style building, at the heart of Lima’s most happening district – so you’ll be able to throw yourself into the city’s energetic nightlife as well as its cultural and artistic scene.
Take a half day city tour and you’ll discover a splendid collection of baroque churches, impressive colonial architecture and internationally renowned museums. Your tour includes the Church of San Francisco as well as Casa Aliaga – an exquisitely preserved colonial mansion occupied by the same family for six centuries.
Stay: Two nights in an Alcoba room at the B Arts Boutique – bed & breakfast
Time to explore the heartland of the Inca Empire. Lined by the vertical slopes of the Andes, and criss-crossed by the lazy waters of the Urubamba River, the Sacred Valley was a region of great importance to the Incas and many of their structures still stand today.
Expert guides will take you on full day private tours of the region, giving you a superb insight into the natural history of the Andean region, as well as the civilisation of the Incas. You’ll visit the colourful market towns of Pisac and Chinchero, the salt pans of Maras, the mighty fortress of Ollantaytambo and the huge agricultural terraces of Moray – used by the Inca’s as a botanical laboratory.
Stay: Three nights in a superior room at Sol y Luna – bed & breakfast
Today you’ll take the Vistadome train to the most magnificent Inca site of all. Hidden away in the jungle, the mighty Machu Picchu is one of the few Inca sites to have escaped 400 years of looting and destruction. Many of the old stairways, tiered terraces, temples and water features have remained wonderfully intact, and are a joy to explore both on your own or with an expert guide.
Stay: One night in a superior room at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel – half board
Today you’ll travel – via Vistadome train – to Cusco to experience the life and heritage of this ancient city. You’ll be staying in a boutique hotel set in a 16th century mansion, the perfect base for guided tours of sites like the Colonial Santo Domingo Convent – built over the original Inca Koricancha Temple – as well as the Plaza de Armas and the monumental cathedral.
You’ll also be taken on a tour of the fabulous Inca ruins that stand beyond Cusco; including the atmospheric temple and amphitheatre of Kenko, the magnificent Red Fortress of Puca Pucara and the ancient cultural centre of Sacsayhuman.
Stay: Two nights in a patio suite at the Inkaterra La Casona – bed & breakfast
On day nine of your holiday you will board the train to Lake Titicaca, a long but scenic journey filled with picturesque landscapes. Relax in the open-air observatory car and watch as lush green fields, winding rivers and remote villages roll by. You will disembark in the city of Puno, which sprawls along the banks of the lake, and be taken to your hotel.
Straddling Peru’s southern border with Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. The region is home to the Aymara and Quechua Indians who pre-date the Incas by over 1,000 years. During your stay you can take birdwatching tours, go on trekking expeditions and try horse riding. Don’t miss the remarkable Inca funeral towers of Sillustani, or boat excursions to the lake’s enchanting floating islands.
Stay: Two nights in a superior lake view room at Casa Andina Private Collection – bed & breakfast
Juliaca – Lima – London
From your hotel you’ll be taken to Juliaca airport for your afternoon flight to Lima, arriving early evening. From Lima you’ll catch your flight home.
It was an extraordinary, wonderful and memorable holiday. Thank you to everyone.- EE, Kenya & Zanzibar, 2014