Premium Peru in Depth with Ica Valley


Fall under the spell of beautiful Peru on an in-depth 19-day Premium adventure. Discover the winelands of Ica, stroll the streets of Arequipa, marvel at the landscapes of Colca Canyon and venture into the wild heart of the Amazon. Stand in awe of Machu Picchu and search for wildlife in the Ballestas Islands in a land that truly has it all. From the myths of the Incas to colonial culture, an experienced local leader will bring the country’s history to life.

19 days, from

$7,515

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: GGPPC
Style: Premium
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  Peru
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel (17 nights), Feature Stay (1 night)
Transportation: Plane , Train , Private vehicle , Boat
Meals: 7 dinners, 18 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Taste the flavours of Peru during dinner at one of Lima’s best restaurants, a snack at the Manos Unidas social enterprise in Cusco and a home-cooked pachamanca lunch in the Sacred Valley.

  • Take in truly stunning surroundings at your feature stay hotel along the Colca River, offering grounds dotted with tumbling waterfalls, organic gardens and gorgeous pools, plus modern rooms, first-class service and fantastic amenities.

  • Set out in search of pelicans, flamingos, sea lions and penguins on an exciting boat tour around the Ballestas Islands, allowing you to get up close to wildlife in its natural environment.

  • Experience the country’s best during a full day of wildlife activities in the Amazon, explorations of Arequipa and Colca Canyon, and two guided visits to Machu Picchu, reached by 360 train offering unbeatable views of the Andes.

  • Get to know the real Peru as you travel with a local leader, stay in a lodge run by the indigenous Ese Eja people, visit a local community in the Sacred Valley and explore with specialist guides in Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Lima

Welcome to Peru! Your adventure begins in Lima. Peru’s colourful capital is equal parts cosmopolitan and chaotic. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel where you will meet your fellow travellers and local leader for an important 6pm welcome meeting. If you arrive before this time, perhaps head out for a walk in the historical centre to appreciate its fine colonial architecture. After your meeting, get your first taste of Lima’s world-renowned food scene during a welcome dinner with your small group and leader. Head out to a fantastic restaurant that’s popular with the locals and get acquainted with some of Peru’s best dishes. From enticingly fresh ceviche to pisco sours – you’ll soon find out why Lima is hailed as the culinary capital of South America.

Day 2: Ica

Depart Lima and travel to the fabulous Vinas Queirolo, the only hotel in Peru located within a vineyard and your accommodation for the next two evenings. Sitting in the Ica valley at the foothills of the Andes and surrounded by more than 500 hectares of vineyards, the setting couldn’t be more spectacular, and the comfort and service of this hotel are every bit as impressive. Enjoy traditional bodega charm, spacious and stylish rooms, three swimming pools, tennis courts and a marvellous restaurant. On arrival, you may like to take a dip in one of the pools, play a game of tennis or simply relax poolside and soak in the stunning scenery. The vineyards that surround your hotel produce Peru’s most famous wine along with the national drink, pisco. This afternoon you will have the option to take an aerial tour of the mysterious Nazca Lines. Etched into the landscape some 22 kilometres north of Nazca, these mysterious wonders are an assortment of perfectly straight lines, trapezoidal zones, and strange symbols of birds and beasts on a giant scale. Speak to your leader about arranging this unforgettable activity.

Day 3: Ica

Travel to the coast this morning to the Paracas Peninsula for an excursion to the Ballestas Islands. These islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. You'll have the chance to get up close and personal with wildlife on an exciting boat tour of the islands. Return to your accommodation in the afternoon where you’ll have the special opportunity to explore the vineyards during a private tour with an expert sommelier. Hear the history of the vineyard and hotel, from the settlement of the Queirolo family from Italy in 1877 to the renovations and modernisations enacted by the third generation of the family in the 21st century. Learn how the brilliant wine and pisco is produced, then cap off the day with drinks at a lookout point, watching the sun set over the gorgeous landscape.

Day 4: Lima

Today you will depart the Ica Valley and return to Lima. A meeting will take place at your hotel at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next leg of your adventure. After your meeting, join your group and leader for dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants, set in a historic house in the bohemian neighbourhood of Barranco. Here you’ll enjoy a menu of traditional Peruvian dishes inspired by the chef’s mother, and the welcoming atmosphere of a family home.

Day 5: Arequipa

Start the day with a walking tour with your leader through Lima’s Barranco neighbourhood – a favourite with local artists, this is the creative heart of the city. Explore streets lined with colourful buildings, vibrant murals and interesting street art. The area is also home to some of Lima’s best bars – stop off at a popular spot to taste a few local specialties. Later on, catch a flight to Arequipa, a beautiful Spanish colonial city. On arrival, head out for an orientation walk with your leader. Known as La Ciudad Blanca (The White City), Arequipa’s buildings have been built almost exclusively from a white volcanic material called sillar, giving the city an appearance like no other. Situated in a valley at the foot of the El Misti volcano, the city also boasts a truly remarkable backdrop.

Day 6: Arequipa

This morning, meet a local guide who’s an expert on all things Arequipa and set out on a tour of the city. Explore Plaza de Armas, the city’s main square, then continue to the Santa Catalina Monastery while your guide shares stories of the city’s history along the way. Stop by the San Ignacio Chapel to appreciate its colonial mural paintings. Visit the beautiful Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa with another local expert guide who will discuss the many layers of the building’s history – from its construction in 1656 to its subsequent destructions and rebuilds. The afternoon is free your own discoveries. Why not pick up an Alpaca jumper and meet the llamas and alpacas of Mundo Alpaca or take part in an active adventure in the surrounding hills and rivers. Or perhaps visit the museum that houses 'Mummy Juanita' – the well-preserved body of a young Inca girl who died sometime between 1450 and 1480.

Day 7: Colca Canyon

This morning, drive through the Altiplano high plains to the Colca Valley and Canyon. On the way you'll see grazing vicunas, llamas and alpacas, as well as stone cairns built by local indigenous communities. More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon provides some breathtaking views. The pre-Inca terraces carved into its walls are still cultivated today, and the area is dotted with traditional Indian villages with locals in colourful dress. Stop at the highest point (4910 metres) to enjoy views of the landscape below. Drive on the town of Chivay, where you'll have some time to soak up the local hot springs, then continue to the Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colca Hotel, your feature stay accommodation for the evening. With a prime location along the rugged Colca River, this resort offers tranquillity and comfort in a truly magnificent setting. The grounds are just as wondrous as the surroundings – tumbling waterfalls, organic gardens and gorgeous pools make this a superb spot to explore. With modern rooms, first-class service and fantastic amenities, this stay is sure to be one to remember.

Day 8: Puno

Rise early this morning to visit the Cruz del Condor viewpoint, where Andean condors, one of the world's largest flying birds, can often be seen soaring in the air. After lunch, begin the drive to Puno. On the way you will stop off at the Sillustani archaeological site. The ruined 'chullpas', or funeral towers, of Sillustani were built by a pre-Inca civilisation centuries ago to house the remains of noble men. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is full of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is renowned for its traditional dances.

Day 9: Lake Titicaca

Be enchanted by striking scenery and unique cultures on a cruise around Lake Titicaca today. This morning, you will depart from the port in Puno for the floating Uros Islands. The Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They are built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. Call into Taquile Island for some woollen handicrafts. On the island, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. Explore this extraordinary place before travelling to Suasi – the only private island on Lake Titicaca. You will spend the next two evenings here in a fantastic eco-lodge, built with natural and sustainable materials, with all rooms looking out onto the boundless lake. Enjoy total peace, once-in-a-lifetime views, and an escape from the modern world.

Day 10: Lake Titicaca

This morning you will visit the cultural museum on the island which houses maps, pictures of Lake Titicaca and books about the history of the lake and its communities. There are handicrafts and fabrics from the different groups that developed around the lake, types of Andean grains like quinoa, and a chance to learn about the process of painting wool. Set out on a leisurely afternoon walk, expected to take around one hour over solid terrain, with some parts at a slight incline. This walk will take you to the highest point of the island – the perfect place to witness an unforgettable sunset over the waters of Lake Titicaca. Head back down to a secluded beach and enjoy an exclusive evening picnic with wine; a special moment to soak in the beautiful landscape, appreciate the serenity and – if the clouds behave – watch the sun go down.

Day 11: Cusco

Rise early and travel back across the lake to meet your private vehicle to Cusco. The journey will be broken up with plenty of stops. Arrive in Cusco by late afternoon. Cusco is South America's oldest continuously inhabited city, and was the home of the Inca for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cusco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. At 3450 metres above sea level, it’s important to take time to acclimatise to the city’s altitude. After settling in at the hotel, take a casual walk around Plaza de Armas with your leader and pick up some excellent dinner recommendations along the way.

Day 12: Cusco

This morning you will discover the best of Cusco on a walking tour. First, enjoy a special tour of the World Heritage-listed Cusco Cathedral with a local historian guide. Built on top of an Incan palace, the building is now one of Cusco’s greatest repositories of art, and your guide will share its history from past to present. Then, tour the Coricancha Temple with another local guide. The temple was once covered in sheets of gold that were eventually removed to raise a ransom for the life of Atahualpa, and later the Spanish demolished the temple to build a Dominican church on its foundations. Soon after, head to the colourful San Pedro market. Finish with a snack at Cafe Manos Unidos, whose core purpose is to improve the quality of life for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities through vocational training and education in the hospitality industry. The food is all natural and is prepared and served by the students on site – have a chat with them as you enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat. The rest of the day is yours – speak to your leader about the option to arrange a cooking class at a local restaurant using fair trade products, or the half-day Inkilltambo trek, exploring an archaeologic site on the city’s outskirts.

Day 13: Ollantaytambo

Today you will head for the Sacred Valley. Just outside of Cusco, visit the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman. The massive stone blocks forming the settlement's walls give you an idea of the ingenuity of the Inca. Continue on to the Sacred Valley. Treasured for its climate, fertile land and the Urubamba (Sacred) River, the valley has long been the main source of food in the high Andes. Afterwards, stop for lunch at the Chichubamba community in Urubamba to take part in an ancient cooking ritual known as pachamanca. This cooking method, which dates back to the time of the Inca empire, sees meats marinaded in spices then placed in a huatia (earth oven) with a selection of root vegetables and cooked slowly over hot stones. You will also visit a couple of local workshops making pottery and chocolate and a chicheria (corn beer) bar. Later, continue to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca settlement, this is one of the few places where the Inca defeated the Spanish. Explore the archaeological site with an expert local guide who will discuss the evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River and towering sets of terraces.

Day 14: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu

Today’s journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes will reveal some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. Board the 360 Machu Picchu Train – with high domed windows in each carriage, there’s few better ways to view the magical Andes Mountains. The train also features an open-air observation carriage so you can marvel at the landscape from every angle. Disembark the train in Aguas Calientes then take a short bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu, where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins and tell you stories of its history and the ancestral people of the region. The true purpose behind Machu Picchu may always be a mystery, since no historical records of the complex exist. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of Emperor Pachacuti. Due to visiting restrictions at Machu Picchu, we recommend exploring the Sun Gate and Inka Bridge before your guided tour starts. Your leader can advise how to get the most out of your visit. Later, take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night before heading back up to Machu Picchu first thing in the morning for your second visit.

Day 15: Cusco

Rise before the sun and take the winding road back up to Machu Picchu for another morning uncovering its secrets. On your second visit, explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters. The sight of the ruins of Machu Picchu against a lush backdrop of forested mountain is one you are going to want to remember – so be sure to have your camera ready. You'll have time along the way to take any photos you may have missed yesterday. Take the bus back to Aguas Calientes, then catch a standard train back to Ollantaytambo. From here, you will make the drive back to Cusco for the evening.

Day 16: Amazon Jungle

Today you will catch a flight to Puerto Maldonado. On arrival in the afternoon, take a bus to the community port of Infierno where you will leave civilisation behind and venture deep into the Amazon rainforest by motorised canoe, up river to your jungle lodge. You may spot macaws, herons, alligators and capybaras along the way. Arrive at the Posada Amazonas, nestled on the banks of the Tambopata river. This spectacular jungle lodge is owned by the indigenous Ese Eja community and is your accommodation for the next two nights. The lodge sits in perfect harmony with the natural environment, blending into the lush rainforest surroundings. Rooms are built from traditional woods, adobe bricks and clay, and feature private bathrooms and an open wall, allowing you to make the most of the spectacular location and be totally immersed in nature. Profits from the lodge go back into the local indigenous community in the form of education and training. As dusk falls, set out for a night walk to discover the fascinating nocturnal activity in the surrounding areas, then retire to the lodge for dinner.

Day 17: Amazon Jungle

Embrace a very early start this morning and set off into the jungle after breakfast. Take a short walk and a short boat ride to the other side of the river, then begin a walk to the Oxbow Lake – this walk should take around an hour and a half over flat, shady terrain with plenty of stops along the way. Board an open topped catamaran to explore the lake in search of birds, monkeys and maybe some otters if you’re lucky. Return to the lodge via the same route, take some time to freshen up, then take a short walk to the Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick. As the name suggests, this clay wall attracts parrots in their hundreds who come to snack on the mineral rich clay each morning, offering visitors a close up look at these vibrant creatures. Return to the lodge for lunch and take some time to enjoy the views from your room or catch up on sleep, then in the afternoon, travel by boat to a medicinal garden where a local shaman will explain the properties of the plants and trees and offer you some local alcohol to try. This evening, enjoy a boat trip in search of caimans – with the engine turned off, you’ll be treated to the wild sounds of the jungle at night.

Day 18: Lima

This morning you will travel back to Puerto Maldonado, then take a flight to Lima, arriving in the early afternoon. Enjoy a few hours at leisure to explore any of the city’s sights you may have missed the first time around, then get back together with your fellow travellers and leader for dinner. Overlooking an ancient pre-Inca archaeological site and serving up a delectable menu of Peruvian delights, this final dinner is sure to leave you with a lasting memory of your time in Peru.

Day 19: Lima

Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you would like to spend some more time in Lima, we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation ahead of time (subject to availability).

Unscripted experiences, insider access and authentic local flavors


Our team of travel specialists and local contacts have curated some of the best, most exclusive and authentic experiences, restaurants and accommodations in Peru to truly immerse yourself in a way that wouldn't be possible in larger groups or just on your own.

19 days, from $7,515

to book call 1-844-205-6226

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