Premium Peru in Depth with Ica Valley


Fall under the spell of beautiful Peru on an in-depth 18-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.

18 days, from

$8,678

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: GGPPC
Style: Premium
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Peru
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel (17 nights), Feature Stay (1 night)
Transportation: Plane , Train , Private vehicle , Boat
Included Meals:

  • 16 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 5 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Taste the flavours of Peru during Exclusive Experiences, including 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.

  • Uncover the country’s best sights during Exclusive Experiences, including a sunset tour of a wine and pisco vineyard and two guided visits to remarkable Machu Picchu, reached by 360 train offering unbeatable views of the Andes.

  • Soak 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.

  • Take a walk on the wild side when you stay deep in the Amazon and enjoy a full day of wildlife activities, including a boat tour, night jungle walk and more.

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

Return to Lima and spend an afternoon as you wish. You will meet your small group of fellow travellers and your local leader for a 6pm welcome meeting at your hotel.The city is full of bars converted from old colonial mansions, so you may like to head out for your first pisco sour. After your meeting, join your leader and small group for a welcome dinner. Lima has one of the world’s most revered culinary scenes, and this evening you’ll head to 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: Lake Titicaca

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. Explore this extraordinary place before traveling back to Puno for the evening.

Day 10: Cusco

Rise early and travel to Cusco. The journey will be broken up with plenty of stops, including a visit to the Raqchi Archaeological Site. 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 11: 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 12: 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 13: 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. 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 14: 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 15: 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 board motorised canoes and head upstream into the Amazon rainforest. Keep an eye out for macaws, herons, alligators and capybaras along the way. Here you’ll find Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion, your Feature Stay for the next two nights. Built in the heart of a 380 hectare-private ecological reserve, this unique resort is focussed on the conservation of local habitats and features 25 private cabanas plus an on-site team of expert local guides. Enjoy lunch at the lodge then explore the Concepcion Trails with an expert guide. As darkness begins to fall, join a guided Twilight River boat ride and see how many caimans you can spot lurking on the riverbanks. Dinner is a la carte and draws on local Amazon ingredients to create a meal to remember.

Day 16: Amazon Jungle

After breakfast, board a dug-out wooden canoe to quietly glide across Lake Sandoval, keeping an eye out for red howler monkeys, giant river otters, and colourful macaws along the way. After lunch you may like to walk along the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, a 344 metre network of suspension bridges that take you high above the forest floor to some of the best places to spot toucans, woodpeckers, monkeys, and three-toed sloths. Join a night walk to discover the nocturnal activity in the surrounding areas or book into the lodge’s spa (own expense), before you meet your group for dinner.

Day 17: 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 18: 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).