Peru is simply magical, overflowing with ancient history and packed with culture. The ancient Incas followed a sacred route all the way from Quito in Ecuador to the “navel of the world” Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca onto La Paz in Bolivia, and into Argentina. The route is often followed today by travellers, soaking up sights, sounds and people along the way. Among many of Peru’s other highlights there are the mysterious Nazca Lines, the Amazon rainforest where you can take a comfortable cruise or stay in a jungle lodge, the White City of Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, a breathtaking place where you can watch the majestic condors soaring high into clear blue skies. In addition to the variety of places you must visit is just to experience the culture of the people of Peru today at the local markets, in the cities and in the countryside.
• Machu Picchu
• Cuzco & the Sacred Valley
• Peru’s Amazon
• Arequipa & the Colca Canyon
• The Nazca Lines
Peru is suitable all year round to visit most areas of interest, though the best season to travel if you are considering hiking the Inca trail is in the winter months Jun – Aug. A moderate wet season occurs during the summer months Dec – Mar and typically most of the remainder of the year you can expect clear blue skies and temperate climate. Naturally though, in the rainforest it rains year round – however the rain stops almost as soon as it starts.
Over the years having visited Peru many times, I have seen huge changes in the infrastructure for tourism which has only made this beautiful country even more appealing. There are more hotel options than ever before and a wide range from basic and cheerful, right up the glorious hotels such as La Casona in Cuzco, built from the 16th century mansion of the ruling Spanish conquistador family in the region. The transport system and facilities for travellers have also much improved, although I am glad that there have never been roads built right through to Machu Picchu. There is something so romantic and adventurous about only being able to make your way to the site by train journey, or by foot on the Inca Trail. The town of Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu has seen the most change I feel, with what was a community of very poor local Indians, to now being able to see those are in employment, the children go to school and are being educated and there are lovely and colourful markets which help fund the local community. My very favourite hotel here is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel which is a stone’s throw from the main square and accommodation is in white-washed casitas superbly decorated, with your own terrace.
A visit to Machu Picchu, no matter how many times you go, is one of those awe-inspiring, thought provoking experiences that you will never forget in your lifetime.
A recent visit to the Peruvian Amazon was a real highlight – I like to travel in “comfort” these days and was a little skeptical how this could be achieved in the Amazon! However, after a short flight to Puerto Maldonado and a road transfer to the (very) small port, we took the 2 hour boat trip up the Madre de Dios to our wonderful lodge, the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. Situated in its own reserve and surrounded by the tropical jungle canopy, there are private cabanas laid throughout the property each featuring soft crisp white beds, hammocks and a porch and most importantly, private bathrooms with flush loo and shower!
Full or half day excursions are offered each and every day with excellent guides taking you on hikes, canoe rides, canopy climbs and fishing trips. The jungle is home to many varieties of wildlife and hundreds of species of avifauna in their own habitat and it is so sad to leave!
There are so many other wonderful experiences in Peru, and many reasons to return again. Ange
Currency Nuevo Sol
Language Spanish and Quechua are the official languages of Peru
Why we love it The cultural traditions, people and history enchanced by such diverse
landscapes as the Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the coastal plains. A visit to Peru means stuffing your suitcase full of treasured handicrafts that you have had fun bargaining for at one of the many markets, an endless supply of photos and video, a sudden fondness for the local beverages Coca Tea and Pisco Sours, and many reasons to return. The bustling red-roofed city of Cuzco is a destination worthy of several days exploring the colonial and Incan sites, followed by heading to the mysterious Incan ruins of Machu Picchu – lost in history and undiscovered by the Spaniards. En route make sure you include an overnight or two in the Sacred Valley – a soulful place of beautiful scenery and of course the Pisac Markets! For the most adventurous take the route the Incas used and walk the Inca Trail to enter Machu Picchu through the Gate of the Sun. For archaeologists or history buffs a visit to Northern Peru will be a treat as important ruins are still being unearthed even now! For the adventurers at heart we recommend heading to the Colca Canyon, arguably the deepest in the world and the Colca Valley – dotted with towns founded in colonial times and home to the majestic Andean condor.
Weather Peru is suitable all year round to visit most areas of interest, though if you are planning to hike the ‘Classic Inca Trail’ then it does not operate Dec-Mar. A moderate wet season occurs during the summer months Dec – Mar and naturally in the rainforest areas it rains a lot – though people visit year round as it usually rains for 2-3 hours of the day and the remainder of the day is sunshine.
Social customs & quirks Peruvians are an incredibly gracious and friendly towards visitors and will gladly pose for a photograph with their llamas or children, but please be sensitive and ensure that you ask first. As this is the real world, generally one or two Soles (a matter of cents to us) should be given. Peruvians have quietly preserved the traditions and cultures of the ancient Inca civilisations and here you will still get the most real experiences with locals who live their lives in much the same way for centuries. Music is a large part of society and you will enjoy the unmistakable sounds of the zampona long after you have left Peru.
Festivals & events Festivals in Peru are incredibly elaborate and colourful events with much parading through streets, dancing and costumes. One of the most important is the Incan Inti Raymi festival – Festival of the Sun – which takes place in Cuzco on June 24 in accordance with the winter solstice or more essentially celebrating the Sun’s new year. It is a spectacle spanning several days and includes live concerts, expositions, street festivities and parades.
Health* There are currently no health requirements entering Peru, although there are recommendations for Yellow Fever vaccination and/or Malaria precautions dependant on the areas to be visited. Please note that some areas in Peru are at high altitude and we recommend ensuring that you allow rest days on arrival to those areas.
Please contact your health practitioner for full and current details.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.
Everything you planned was completely perfect! The timing, the locations, the hotels, and so incredibly helpful to have a condor person hold our hands every step of the way. Massively took the pressure off. It was wonderful to not have to think. I wasn't well when I arrived so it was fabulous having those few days to rest and climatise. The Inka trail was beyond amazing. Hard but so so worth it. All of our guides were amazing and went the extra mile. Olmer (our Cusco/Inka Trail guide) even went as far as getting the cook to bake a cake with perfectly set jelly and piped cream happy birthday in Spanish for Andrew at the highest point nearly 4000ft/m whatever it was high! "It was the best birthday he's ever had" he was so surprised! It was brilliant! The Amazon was out of this world. I've never seen so many giant creatures in one place. It was absolutely fascinating! Our guide in the Amazon was a Peruvian version of David Attenborough and Steve Irwin. A fountain of knowledge. It was absolutely mind blowing. The view on the pier was majestic in Lima it was so nice to chill out there after such an epic adventure and watch the waves roll in and spot giant crabs. We weren't able to get into that restaurant as there was a 6 month waiting list, but that's ok, Thank you so much for trying. But we did however find an open top restaurant called Mangos recommended by our Lima guide. It was a warm still night, no wind, with an incredible view. Perfect for our last night together/anniversary. The whole trip was magic. An epic adventure. It was perfect!
Mandii & Andrew
My Grand Tour of South America was everything I had dreamed it would be and more. The stay in the Amazon was magical. The only place in the world where I have been able to see more stars at night than in New Zealand.
We had a wonderful time
The trip went extremely well and we were looked after very well the whole trip. Absolutely nothing went wrong - which is amazing given the amount of travelling we did. We loved every minute - met some great people and really enjoyed our time.
Ecuador was a great country to travel in and not too expensive. Villa Colonna was excellent and Rudi and Rico very kind. Rudi said that they were looking at selling and moving to Sacramento Ca. next year at one point, but didn't mention it the next time we went back so may be he has changed his mind. Both the Galapagos and the Andes were wonderful.
Peru was fascinating - though a bit dearer. Macchu Pichu was astounding as were many of the other ruins we saw.
Bolivia was surprisingly good - some day would like to take more of a look there.
So all in all it was fantastic - and we are very grateful to you for your choices and organisational efforts - it was utterly stress free.... and given how exhausted I was when we left that was wonderful.
Many thanks from us to you and your team.
An Amazing Adventure
Geraldine and Graeme
Every day was a highlight simply because every day was a new adventure!