- Combine these two countries, from the Inca valleys to the 'enchanted islands' via the Peruvian Amazon
- Private tours of the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, two immersive nature experiences in eco-lodges, Baroque Cusco, Quito Old Town
- Private drivers and guides, plus all of our usual additional services, including our local concierge service
- A fantastic restaurant in Lima, riding through ancient Inca sites, private tour of Quito: just ask us
Contact one of our Peru specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
FROM PERU TO ECUADOR - THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The common thread that sews this trip together is nature: the Amazonian forest and its cultivated clearings, the majestic Cotopaxi volcano and the incredible diversity of the Galapagos islands. Plus, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Quito Old Town. Your accommodation has been chosen for its prime location and comfort; tours have been included in your itinerary with private guides. The
THROUGHOUT THE JOURNEY...
CLOSE-UP OF PERUBegin with the gateway city of Lima. Lima is a reflection of the Spanish Golden Age: narrow streets and houses with olive green, pale yellow and pink walls. The curved lines of the Baroque buildings, the splendid sacristy of the cathedral, and the cuisine (Nikkei, Novoandina), which has brought the country to the forefront of the international gastronomic scene. From there, fly to the Peruvian Amazon. On the banks of the Madre de Dios River, public and private nature reserves make it possible to discover the huge variety of Amazonian environments; spot birds and caimans as you explore the forest, either on foot, by boat or even high up in the canopy. Then, head to the Sacred Valley of Urubamba. Marvel at pink mountains, the green mosaic pattern of quinoa fields, mud brick villages and terraces cultivated on staggeringly steep slopes as clouds quietly roll by. The salt mines of Maras and the concentric terraces of Moray. Next chapter: Machu Picchu. Reach the top of Machu Picchu as dawn breaks and bask in the complete silence that surrounds, as you admire the purple light streaming through in between the mountains onto this magnificent site. A little farther down: 11,160ft above sea level, the early morning fog sticks to the roof tiles in Cusco, the ancient Inca capital.
EQUATORIAN LATITUDESWell-guarded by the active Pichincha Volcano, the historic centre of Quito is also protected by UNESCO. From the Jesuit church of La Compania, with its baroque facade to the splendid collection of pre-Columbian art at Casa del Alabado, the Ecuadorian capital shines in all its glory. Quito's charming cobblestone alleyways and Moorish houses sit among a hilly volcanic landscape. The Cotopaxi Volcano lies just over 60 miles south of Quito. Its ochre, snow-capped caldera sits at nearly 19,700ft above sea level. And 620 miles from the coast, Ecuador holds a treasure trove of natural history in the Galapagos Islands , where Darwin made his key theory of evolution. The islands' endemic wildlife is a must for nature lovers with marine iguanas, penguins, turtles and thousands of species of birds.
Flight to Lima
Stay in a large beachfront house in Lima's bohemian Barranco district. Frenetic, passionate and exciting... Lima is a capital city that doesn't do half measures. Cultural highlights include the Museo Larco, the Museo Pedro de Osma and the archaeological sites of Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca. Our top tip is to simply wander the streets and really soak up the city... the Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo, María Reiche Miraflores Park and San Cristobal Hill (for stunning views of the metropolis at dusk) are all musts during your visit. Mingle with locals in Cercado in the historic centre, among the beautiful gardens of the Parque de la Reserva and in the bustling streets of Barranco, the trendy neighbourhood where you can find the best Peruvian nightlife and some amazing restaurants.
Included in the itinerary: Private tour of the Barranco district.
Puerto Maldonado - Amazonia
In the early afternoon, fly to Puerto Maldonado and then sail by boat (20 minutes) on the Madre de Dios River, to reach your eco-lodge in the middle of the Amazon forest. The property houses seven bungalows and eight wooden rooms in a style reminiscent of an Amazonian hacienda, all with spectacular views of the jungle and river.
The Amazon Rainforest
Included in the itinerary - Guided day and night walking tours of the Amazon; canopy walks, canoeing on Sandoval Lake, fishing, visiting a 'chacra' (farm) and a botanical garden. Plus a night visit to Collpa Tierra Adentro.
Amazonia - Yucay
Flight to Cusco, then drive to Yucay (one hour) through the sumptuous scenery of the Sacred Valley. Three-night stay in an 18th-century Franciscan monastery.
Included in the itinerary: Tour of the Pisac craft market and the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, with a private guide.
Hiking in Moray and Maras
Visit the archaeological site of Moray (11,730ft), before hiking towards Maras. Don't panic, it's mostly downhill. You'll walk through a luscious green valley and fields of crops, observing farmers as they work the land. The view over the Vilcabamba mountain range with the snow-covered Veronica Peak is breathtaking. Arrive at Maras and visit the salt mines. Continue the walk to the Pichingoto community (9,450ft), where your driver is waiting.
Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu)
You'll be privately transferred to Ollantaytambo train station, from where you'll take a train to the small station of Aguas Calientes (approx. one hour 40 minutes), the stepping stone to Machu Picchu.
Included in the itinerary - Machu Picchu with a private guide. The citadel created by the Inca Emperor Pachacutec is a mesmerising feat; the beauty of the location, the scale of the design and the logistics and engineering it took to build it are nothing short of immense. The tour of the Inca site can be combined with climbing Machu Picchu Mountain, which offers splendid panoramic views over the citadel and the surrounding mountains, but also over the top of Huayna Picchu and the Urubamba River. This climb is not dangerous, but does require a basic level of fitness.
The capital of the Incas is still, literally, the base of the city of Cusco: most walls and foundations date back to the pre-Hispanic period and can be seen in many places (especially in the old colonial area of San Blas). The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin and the Church of the Society of Jesus, with gold and paintings from the Cusco School of Art (16th-17th centuries), both stand proudly on Plaza de Armas. Expand your knowledge of Andean religious art by visiting the Hilario Mendivil Museum, an exceptional craftsman-sculptor of the 20th century from the Cusco School of Art. Just over one mile north of Cusco, visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, one of the most impressive Inca ruins. Admire the three levels of walls laid out in a zig-zag formation to represent the shape of a puma's head. During the winter solstice, the Inti Raymi (sun festival) celebrates Inti, the most venerated deity in the Incan religion. Outside of these important celebrations, people use the ruins for jogging and tai chi on a daily basis.
Included in the itinerary - Tour of the city with a private guide.
Optional: Cooking class with chef Erick Paz and riding around the surrounding archaeological sites.
Quito - Ecuador
Private transfer to the airport and international flight to Quito. Second private transfer and three-night stay in accommodation in the historic centre. Behind an azure blue facade the hotel is a colonial home, built in 1925 and completely restored by renowned artists from the Quito School of Art. The house has three simple and elegant rooms, organised around a lovely inner courtyard, the perfect place for a good book or a refreshing drink. The rooftop terrace has wonderful views of the city.
Not much has changed in Quito Old Town, to the point where it can feel as if you've stepped back to colonial times. The chequerboard layout of the buildings hasn't changed and the brightly coloured one-storey houses with Spanish balconies provide a quaint foreground to the imposing civil and religious building which loom in the background; the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito (1562-1806); Carondelet Palace (1801); and the Church and Monastery of St. Francis (1534-1604) which houses the Virgin of Quito. Between discoveries, enjoy a 'canelazo' (alcohol, sugar, water and cinnamon).
Optional: Tour of the city with a private guide.
Cotopaxi National Park
Included in the itinerary - Cotopaxi National Park Discovery Day with private guide. The Cotopaxi National Park, about 60 miles south of Quito, is home to the highest active volcano in the world at nearly 19,350ft. The perfectly symmetrical snow-capped caldera, set against the beautiful blue sky, is an iconic sight. The 85,000-acre nature reserve is home to a rich diversity of Andean wildlife; llamas, wild horses, Andean wolves, and sometimes even majestic condors all roam freely here. The road ends at an altitude of 14,765ft. Here, continue the adventure with a walk to the reserve at 15,750ft and a trip to the Limpiopungo Lagoon (just under two miles).
Galapagos - Santa Cruz
Private transfer to the airport and flight to the Galapagos Islands. Second transfer and three-night stay on Santa Cruz Island. Your hotel offers spectacular views of the bay and the island. Crystal clear waters and a beautiful sandy beach are just a five-minute walk away.
During these two days, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, explore the surrounding islands and go snorkelling, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking. You'll spot an array of wildlife at every turn. Here's where we would recommend visiting while in the Galapagos: the lava tunnels, forests and giant turtles in the highlands of Santa Cruz; the small island of Seymour with its colonies of blue-footed booby birds and magnificent frigatebirds; the island of Bartolome with its volcanic landscape (black sand and igneous rock); the island of Santa Fe with the oldest basalt rocks in the archipelago and spectacular views and amazing wildlife (sea lions, sea turtles, small white-tip reef sharks, sea rays and much more). The list of activities offered may vary depending on when you visit.
Included in the itinerary: Discover the islands of Seymour and Bartolome. Wildlife watching and snorkelling.
Santa Cruz - Return flights
Transfer to Baltra airport and catch your flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
A la carte
Climb Machu Picchu Mountain
To explore this wonder further, there's the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to climb Machu Picchu Mountain the day after the guided tour. From the summit, take in the splendid panoramic view of the Machu Picchu citadel and its surrounding mountains, including the summit of Huayna Picchu and the Urubamba River. The climb, made up of stone steps, a path and in places, grass, is sometimes very steep and rocky and takes just under four hours (ascent: approx. 2,132ft).
Riding in Cusco
Horseriding is one of the best ways to travel in the Andes. Leave the sacred site of Qenqo, just under four miles north-east of Cusco, and at a leisurely pace ride to Puka Pukara (the red fortress), a military defence structure of the Incan capital. In the distance, marvel at the snow-capped peaks of the Ausangate. You can also visit Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman (but this time, by car). This riding tour is suitable for beginners (after a short introductory lesson).
Optional - Half-day tour, with a guide
Private tour of Quito
The history of Quito Old Town awaits; wandering its bustling streets and squares is the best way to learn. This historical and architectural walking tour, accompanied by a guide, is the perfect opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the city and its people. Quito is often called the most beautiful colonial city in South America. Its historic centre is a major architectural complex, a legacy of the Quito School of Art and the Spanish Conquest. At zero degrees latitude, it has a truly special geographical location - the stargazing opportunities alone are reason enough to visit.
Optional - half day
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