PERU INSIDER TOUR
If you want to see the real Peru (away from the millions
of tourists who descend on the country each year), then our Insider
tour is perfect. We offer train and boat rides, bathing in hot
springs, walking, treking, horse-riding, museums, churches, some
luxurious hotels, and lots of time in small farming villages as
guests in local homestays.
Sample Peru Insider Tour: 20 days/19 nights
Lima, Arequipa, Yanque, Cabanaconde, Chucuito, Anapia island (Lake Titicaca), Lima
Cost: £2871 for a couple (not per person) excluding flight.
All our tours are private - you won't be part of a group.
The price quoted is for transport (internal flights and car), a driver (Spanish only), local guides (English speaking), and full meals except at hotels. For an English speaking guide to travel with you throughout your tour, please add around £30 per day.
This is a sample tour to Peru. We can mix and match according to the dates and places you would like to visit. Note that we don't arrange air flights.
Day one and two
Is your arrival in Lima - the charming, diverse and chaotic capital of Peru. Positioned halfway down the dry desert coastline of Peru, the city is hemmed in by the Pacific Ocean on the one side and the foothills of the Andes mountain range on the other. The old colonial centre is elegant - churches and convents, graceful old mansions, central plazas and classic colonial-style buildings - and the city is known for its lively nightlife and restaurants.
Over the next couple of days you can recover from your flight and wander the city, exclusing lunch in the Barranco neighbourhood (on foot or by bus), the capital's seaside resort in the 19th century.
Overnight (2 nights): Hotel Antigua, Miraflores: an area of parks, cafes, restaurants, theatres, art galleries and busy beaches. The hotel is an elegant former mansion in a quiet neighbourhood, with public spaces, gardens and balconies.
Day three to four
We'll take the night bus to Arequipa, a small energetic city overlooked by snow-capped mountains.
Over the next couple of days we can explore the city: narrow cobbled streets and colonial houses, fountains, plazas, one of the most beautiful main squares in Peru, the Cathedral, La Compañia Church, an ancient Jesuit temple, and Santa Catalina Convent.
We can also take a 3-hour trip to Sabindia, in the countryside. Here, you can explore the village on horseback and take lunch with a local family who breed horses. Sabandia has a 17th century colonial house and a mill which is now used for demonstration purpose.
Overnight (2 nights): Hotel in Arequipa.
Day five to eight
We'll take the 4 hour mountainous drive through the Colca Valley (via Chivay) to Yanque - a traditional Indian village with a "fine white church", a small archeology museum, thermal baths down by the river, horses and some well preserved pre-Inca ruins.
Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the road to the valley crosses the lower slopes of Mount Chachani and runs along plains studded with ichu and yareta. The road crosses a high point of 4,350 meters before dropping down to the valley, an area of breath-taking landscapes surrounded by elaborate (pre-Inca) terracing, snow-capped peaks and huge herds of Ilamas. Far below, the Colca River winds along the bottom of the canyon.
The valley features archaeological remains left behind by the Collagua, the ancient inhabitants of the area. These include cave paintings and grain storerooms. There are 14 towns based on both riverbanks, towns which were founded in the sixteenth century to settle the Collagua natives who were scattered around the area (including Yanque and Cabanaconde which we will go on to visit). The towns have preserved their original characteristics, such as the outline of their streets, their richly-decorated colonial churches and traditional festivals.
Over the few days we'll explore the village and farms. You can bath in the hot springs, go horse-riding or hire mountain bikes. You may also have the chance to see the local dance called Wititi, the typical dance of the valley. The area is known for its colourful crafts, carpets and embroidered clothes, as well as items that have been sculpted and embossed in tin.
Overnight (4 nights): Hilda's homestay, owned by Hilda, her husband and children (Florcita and Renzo). You'll have home cooked food, there's an open fire in the kitchen and Hilda's husband occasionally picks up the guitar and plays for guests during dinner. Your guide will be Pedro - who comes from the nearby village of Sibayo (you will be visiting the village later in the trip). There are four beautiful rooms, with shared bathorooms.
Day nine to twelve
We'll make our way to by car to Cabanaconde via Mirador Cruz del Condor - the popular point for looking into the depth of the canyon. Here we can see the sacred Condors circling up from the depths against landscapes surrounded by terracing and snow-capped peaks. Far below, the Colca River winds along the bottom of the canyon.
We'll spend the next four days in the small, Quecha speaking town of Cabanaconde, strolling around the town or (for the more energetic) trekking in the mountains. We can also take a bus trip to Sibayo, a village community dependent on weaving, herding lamas, sheep and alpacas.
Overnight (4 nights): Hotel Kuntur Wassi. The hotel is managed by Maria and Walter, local Peruvians who live at the hotel and personally take care of the guests. The hotel has excellent views of the borders of the Colca Canyon and Huaro waterfall. There is solar water heating, a small restaurant and bar.
Day thirteen to fourteen
We'll take the 4-5 hour drive to Chucuito - (which lies 15 minutes south from the better known town, Puno). Chucuito is a small colonial town overlooked by the intensive hillside terracing and boulders. The area has attracted a following based on the mythology of its 'fertility temple', with phallic looking sculptures. We can explore the town and take walks in the countryside and visit some of the communities.
Overnight: (2 nights), La Glorieta, a homestay/lodge in Chucuito. Rooms have beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, and an area for sitting and relaxing. There are chickens in the garden, and excellent home cooked pizza from traditional ovens.
Day fifteen to eighteen
After breakfast we'll make our way to Anapia island - first by car (2 hours) and then by boat (2 hours).
Anapia is an island in Lake Titicaca, close to the border with Bolivia. The island is remote and traditional, with affairs run by the community itself - including community-based tourism.
The 280 native families are ethnic Aymaras, descendants of the traditional inhabitants of the Altiplano or highland plateau that stretches between Peru and Bolivia around Lake Titicaca. They speak Aymara and live off farming (potatos, ocas and Andean cereals such as quinua and amaranth), fishing and weaving. The community have land on a nearby island which means that livestock are rotated between islands - cattle swim and sheep are taken by boat.
The community tourism is run on rotation, with families taking it in turn to host families. Over the next few days we can go sailing or rowing around the island, visit the neighbouring island of Yupisque inhabited by wild Vicuña, go swimming and have lunch on the lake (the women will prepare 'Huatia' - potatoes cooked in a natural oven made of clay and buried in hot soil, served with fresh lake fish) and take part in the daily activities of the community such as fishing, agriculture and looking after the livestock.
Overnight: (4 nights). There are around 15 homestays as part of the community-based tourism project. The rooms have separate entrances, rooms and bathrooms, but you eat with the host family. Whichever homestay you end up at, your guide will be Jose, the Island's community leader. The set up is unsophisticated (no hot water or showers are available) but clean and comfortable.
We'll take the boat, car and internal flight to Lima.
Overnight (1 night): Hotel Antigua, Miraflores, Lima
After a farewell meal, we'll make our way to the airport for your flight back home.
Machu Picchu extension
We can arrange tours for you to Machu Picchu. You should be aware that the area is suffering severe environmental damage from tourism. Up to 2,000 people visit the Machu Picchu citadel every day, with visitor numbers growing at 6 percent a year. UNESCO says that number should be cut to 800 visitors.
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