Peru with Amazon
Peru is without doubt the most intriguing and fascinating of all South American countries. The incredible remains of the Inca civilization are a huge draw and combined with its colonial architecture, the stunning vistas of the jagged peaks of the Andes, the Amazonian jungle, its superb cuisine and the warmth of the Peruvians themselves, this is one of the most captivating destinations in the world!
Firstly, its scenery is world-class: the Andes, the second highest mountain range in the world rising to a jaw-dropping 20,000 feet, run like a backbone down the entire country. Snow-clad volcanoes pierce the sky, whilst torrential rivers surge through rocky valleys from the numerous glaciers. At lower altitudes is the altiplano, a timeless plateau covered with tufts of wiry grass and studded with occasional but distinctive low thatched houses of the indigenous Indians. Completing the scene are small herds of instantly recognisable llama, whilst above, giant condors soar on the rising thermals.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. At 13,000 feet the luminescent light and clear air cause the lake to emit a stunning sapphire-blue colour and its infinite vastness stretches into the horizon. With the ever-present Andes as the backdrop, the dark greens of the altiplano plunge into the deep waters whilst an eerily haunting silence pervades; it exudes an almost other-worldly natural beauty. The lake itself is home to the Uros, an Indian people who live much as they have always done, on extensive floating islands constructed from reeds.
Peru, in all our minds though, is indivisible from the fabled Incas, that remarkable people who, by the early 16th century had created the greatest empire in the then world. Stretching from Colombia to Chile, amazingly without the benefit of writing, ferrous metals, horses, currency or wheels. The Incas were the last of dozens of pre-Colombian civilisations, but how did a tiny group of 160 Spaniards manage to conquer this highly organised and sophisticated society of 32 million people? We visit the sites of battles, palaces and the most sacred temples of the Incas answering this question and many others.
We stay a few days in Cusco, the oldest inhabited city in the Americas. As Peru’s undisputed archaeological capital, surrounded by exceptionally beautiful Andean countryside, it is one of South America’s most charming cities. It is a curious blend of old and new with immense, virtually earthquake-proof Inca walls lining cobbled streets and forming the foundations of some gorgeous colonial buildings, reminiscent of medieval Spain. We see its 16th century cathedral, fabulous art and opulent treasure collections, the main square where the conquistadors were almost overwhelmed and the last Inca emperor was executed in a public display of Spanish supremacy.
The most striking image of Peru, and probably the entire continent, is of course the awesome Machu Picchu. One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times, it is set in a breathtaking landscape of rich rainforest, deep perilous gorges and lofty snow-covered peaks. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer exhilaration felt as you approach the site and it gloriously comes into view. You ascend a slope and suddenly there it is, its magic hits you right between the eyes: the classic view from countless travel posters, it will truly take your breath away!
Peru is also the culinary centre of South America with many specialities. You should try ceviche, a meaty sea-fish similar to sea-bass, marinated in lime juice. Alpaca steaks are popular too, but you may wish to draw the line at the Inca speciality of guinea pig, still considered a delicacy. There are over thirty different types of potatoes, one of which is bright yellow and delicious baked in salt, and the most mouth-watering corn on the cob, totally different from the selectively bred varieties we are used to.
Peru is fascinating: a striking mixture of old-world Spanish influence combined with many Inca customs and beliefs persisting to this day. Peruvians are justly proud of their unique and complex cultural heritage and no visitor can fail to be enchanted by their genuine kindness, intrigued by their long and colourful history and captivated by their spectacular and beautiful country.
- Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow
- Explore the extraordinary civilization of the Incas, the colonial heritage of the Spanish Conquistadors and the colourful culture of present-day Peru
- Guided visit to Machu Picchu, the fabled ‘Lost city of the Incas’
- Tour of Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Stay in hand-picked three and four-star hotels with daily breakfast
- Guided sightseeing of Cusco, once capital of the Inca empire, now one of South America’s most enchanting cities
- Visit to the famous floating islands of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world
- See the great South American condor in flight, at the stunning Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest
- Guided tour of Arequipa, one of South America’s most charming Spanish colonial cities
- Experience the Peruvian Amazon basin with a two-night stay at an eco-lodge in the jungle
- Escorted by an experienced tour manager
- The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room and includes return scheduled flights; 11 nights on bed and breakfast basis in four and three-star hotels, all tours as mentioned, guided visits to the Colca Canyon, Sacred Valley, Pisac market, guided tour of Arequipa, Machu Picchu, Cusco, visits to Uros & Taquile islands, a two-night stay at an eco-lodge in the Amazon jungle; all transfers and one item of luggage per person; the services of a Riviera tour manager.
- VISAS & HEALTH
- UK & Irish citizens do not currently need a visa to enter Peru, however your passport should have at least six months’ validity after your return date. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for Peru at least a month before departure.
- This tour includes five days at altitudes in excess of 11,000 feet so you do need to be reasonably fit and mobile. If you suffer from heart or respiratory problems, we recommend you talk to your GP prior to booking. In order to minimise the effects of altitude, we have designed our tour to encourage a slow acclimatisation process by spending the first three nights in the Andes at the slightly lower altitudes of Arequipa and Colca Canyon, before visiting the higher elevations of Lake Titicaca and Cuzco. Our experienced tour managers will also be able to advise on how to minimise the effects of the altitude.
- Important notes regarding your Amazon stay
- Due to limited space available on the boat transfers to the lodge, guests’ luggage is restricted to 22lbs (9.5kg) per person, but the lodge has secure storage available for extra baggage near the airport.
- Weather is hot and humid year-round. May to Oct is the ‘dry’ period when exploration on foot is easier; Nov to Apr is the wet season, making it the ideal time to explore by canoe. The lodge also provides ‘wellies’ for all clients, although we recommend some good boots and a lightweight hooded rain jacket or poncho.
- Electricity is normally limited to 4 hours per day and wifi is very limited in the main lodge. There are no TVs or air-conditioning, in keeping with the natural environment.
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