Peru Holidays & Vacations
Walk lightly because in Peru your feet touch ground tread by the mighty Incas, one of the major world civilisations of the last millennium. On your way to their heartland you may stop in Cusco, where many of the buildings are Spanish colonial on top and oblong Inca stone below. This layer-cake approach neatly summarises the mix of buildings, cultures and beliefs typical of Latin America’s heritage.
Not everything is as it seems: some of the Christian saints you’ll see in the churches are mysteriously connected to other gods and other beliefs. You may already suffer a little soroche – altitude sickness – but often sipping some coca-leaf tea does the trick. And then – you take the train or hike the Inca Trail to one of the absolute wonders of the world, the 15th century Machu Picchu, the Inca’s secret mountain city. Emperor Pachacútec built it here, it is said, to be far from his enemies and as close as possible to the Gods. The Spanish conquistadores never found it.
Peru is an incredible place to visit, with dry coastal deserts, the hot and wet Amazon Jungle, and the dry and cold Altiplano. Each region has a fascinating history, diverse ecology, and complex ethnic mix, dominated by Quechua Indians, but with many other tribes and migrants. The capital Lima and its sister, the port city of Callao, are booming at the moment. Get a taste for Peru now, by telling us what you’d like to visit: remember, we can produce a personalised itinerary for you combining these and additional Peruvian attractions such as Lake Titicaca, a convenient gateway to destinations in Bolivia. To see examples of ready-made itineraries, you can check the Inca Empire – Lake Titicaca & Machu Picchu Tour and The Treasures of Northern Peru Tour.
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Add-on: Peruvian Amazon Adventures
In addition to the many great destinations covered in our Peru Tours, the country also offers some great opportunities to explore the Amazon. We have partnered with a sustainable development and research charity to offer travellers a four-day experience that provides an amazing insight into the landscapes, flora and fauna of the Peruvian Amazon. The journey will take you through the Andes, deep into cloud forests and along the Madre de Dios River to the Manu Learning Centre. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn first-hand from researchers and scientists and join them on their daily activities. You’ll be able gain an understanding into the different issues affecting the Amazonian rainforest and its people, and learn about communities’ use of biodiversity within the forest. And all this is in addition to an incredibly rich and rewarding wildlife experience. These tours generally depart Cusco on a Monday.
Day 1: Cusco – Manu Cloud Forest (-/L/D)
Early depart from Cusco to start the journey by road through the Andes and into the cloud forest, enjoying spectacular views of the Sacred Valley along the way. We’ll stop at Paucartambo, the centre of ancient trading routes of the Incas, to experience local culture, traditional dances and celebrations as well as learn about the Andean communities’ use of biodiversity within the forest. Throughout the journey you’ll be able to take in the dramatic changes of the landscape, until we reach the Cock of the Rock Lodge around mid afternoon, where we’ll be staying the night.
Day 2: Manu Cloud Forest – Manu Learning Centre (B/L/D)
Before a hearty breakfast, head into the cloud forest to see one of its main attractions: the dance spectacle of the Cock of The Rock bird, the national bird of Peru. We’ll then continue our journey deeper into the cloud forest – a journey full of the sights and sounds of the jungle. Along the way we’ll visit a coca plantation where you will learn about the uses of coca leaves and their medicinal properties. You’ll then change mode of transport and board a motorised canoe for the final part of the journey, down the Madre de Dios River, to the Manu Learning Centre. That afternoon, you’ll explore the local forest trail system with our naturalist guides.
Day 3: Manu Learning Centre (B/L/D)
There are plenty of activities to get involved in – here are just a few examples: join the scientists and researchers on an early morning boat trip to the hide, five minutes up river, to observe the activity of macaws, parrots, and parakeets; head into the forest and visit the bio-garden, part of the centre’s sustainable project which also supplies the food to the lodge’s kitchen; spend the afternoon with one of the specialist guides exploring the 25km of trails in the rainforest; and there is also the possibility to head out on a night walk to spot all the nocturnal species.
Day 4: Manu Learning Centre – Cusco (B/L/-)
After breakfast you’ll prepare for departure. You’ll take the boat back to the port-town of Atalaya where you will board your transport to take you back to Cusco. The landscape will change dramatically as you climb up into the cloud forest towards the Andes and then down to Cusco. You will arrive in Cusco around 7 pm and that will be the end of the trip – although we expect the wonderful memories to last a lot longer.