Essential Peru

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  • No booking fees
5.0 Based on 59 Reviews
  • COVID-19protected
  • Natural landmarks sightseeing
  • Cultural, religious and historic sites
See Itinerary
  • duration 15 days
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 16+ yrs
  • max group size 18
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Lima, Peru
  • Ends Lima, Peru
Tour with Flexible Booking Policy
  • Change dates It is free to change your tour start date within 30 days of departure.
  • Choose a different tour Select a new tour run by the same tour operator within 30 days of departure.
HIGHLIGHTS Download trip notes
  • Discover the iconic Machu Picchu by train with guided tourHomestay on traditional Amantani Island, Lake TiticacaSee Colca Canyon and its soaring condorsWander through the colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina ConventDrive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley
Starting and ending in Lima, the Essential Peru tour is a guided cultural, religious and historic sites tour that takes 15 days. You will travel through Abancay, Puno, Arequipa and 7 other destinations in Peru. Essential Peru is a small group tour which includes accommodation, transport and others.

A spectacular journey through Peru's varied landscape encompassing coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the high altiplano and lush cloud forest. The most famous sites are all visited including the mysterious Nazca Lines, awe-inspiring Machu Picchu in its incredible mountaintop setting, Lake Titicaca, where the night is spent in an island homestay, and the remarkable 3000m deep Colca Canyon. On the way we encounter traditional culture, condors, llamas, and a warm welcome from the Peruvian people.The 18 June departures in 2019 and 2020 coincide with Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco. Translated as 'Festival of the Sun' it is the most important of all Andean festivals; during this time Cuzco is filled with colourful processions and festivities. For full details on this itinerary, search for trip code APDA.
5 - Excellent
Based on 59 reviews
  • Anonymous
  • On Jan 12 2020
5 - Excellent
Essential Peru
“We were on the same trip as Neil Thomas and agree with everything that Neil has written in his detailed review. One part of the trip that Neil didn't mention was the Nazca Lines. From ground level these look like very uninteresting scratches in the sand, if you can see them at all. From the air they are amazing. But to see them from the air you have to fly in a very small plane, which is not for everybody. If you are happy to fly in a 7 seater plane that banks steeply from side to side to show people sitting on both sides of the plane the "lines" below you then go for it, it is well worth it. If you don't fancy the flight, there is a tower that you can climb to get a good view of .a couple of the lines, and a new much taller tower was being built.”
  • Anonymous
  • On Aug 19 2019
4 - Very Good
Llamas and Alpacas: Machu Picchu Dreaming
“It took me a while to love Peru. It didn't help that our flight from Gatwick was delayed nearly 24 hours, resulting in us missing the first part of the adventure, and then enduring two very long travel days. However, once we arrived in Cusco and dealt with the initial impact of the altitude, the magic started to work.Ignore the sprawling, traffic-filled suburbs: the historic centre of Cusco is a magnificent place to spend a couple of days. We enjoyed visiting the market, the Bohemian quarter of San Blas, people watching in the Plaza de Armas and even waiting to cheer a bride into her wedding.Our days in Cusco bracketed our visit to Machu Picchu, which is every bit as magnificent as the guidebooks lead you to believe. Our allocated afternoon time slot allowed us to walk to the Sun Gate before visiting the main site - a rewarding experience affording magnificent views.The downside of MP - the shuttle buses to and from Aguas Callientes. You will have to face lengthy queues in each direction.On our second morning in Aguas Callientes we resisted the urge to visit MP again and instead were taken on a walk along the railway line to Los Jardines de Mandor, a beautiful botanic garden in the cloud forest leading to a waterfall. I would urge all Exodus clients to make this three-hour excursion - it was a highlight for us.After Cusco, there was another sprinkling of magic on Amantani Island, an oasis of beauty on Lake Titicaca. Our visit coincided with an island fiesta, so we enjoyed the riot of flags, dancing and colour displayed by the locals. Our journey across Titicaca also involved a visit to one of the floating island communities. That too was wonderful in a weird way.Next was the trip through the altiplano to the charming town of Chivay, stopping to watch an erupting volcano and a couple of whirlwinds en route. I can also now tell my llamas from my alpacas, as well as vicunas - there are plenty of all three species to be seen en route.Chivay offered a trip to the thermal springs and a rare hour of leisurely self-indulgence. The next day it was an early start to see the Andean condors rising on the thermals in Colca Canyon - another memorable experience.Then it was Arequipa, our visit coinciding with another festival of music and dance, and finally Miraflores, and a belated meeting with Paddington Bear, before our flight home.”
  • Anonymous
  • On Jul 26 2019
5 - Excellent
Spectacular scenery and costumes
“A very well planned and varied itinerary that takes you up to the high altitude gradually. A lot of travelling but the spectacular scenery takes your mind off the long journeys. Good attention to health and safety throughout. The Inti Raymi festival events are a modern interpretation of the traditional Inca rituals but nonetheless wonderful to witness. The costumes and the infectious energy of the local people enjoying the festival in Cusco the day before was a great experience.It was a wonderful 'trip of a lifetime' experience and I am pleased to recommend it to other travellers.”
  • Anonymous
  • On Jul 20 2019
5 - Excellent
Amazing Peru!!
“From start to finish this trip ticked all the boxes. Yes it's full on, Peru is a huge country and this holiday maximises your time to visit all the most interesting places and areas. The scenery whilst travelling around is amazing. Didn't even open the book I'd taken to read on the coach!”
  • Day 1: Start Lima.
  • Day 2: Drive south along the coast and sail to the Ballestas Islands, home to the highest concentration of marine birds in the world; overnight in Ica.
  • Day 3: On to Nazca; see the Nazca lines; optional scenic flight.
  • Day 4: Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes.
  • Day 5: Drive to Cuzco (3400m) visiting Inca sites on the way.
  • Day 6: Free day to explore Cuzco.
  • Day 7: Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu.
  • Day 8: Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.
  • Day 9: Free day for optional excursions.
  • Day 10: Drive to Lake Titicaca (3800m), with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay.
  • Day 11: Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands.
  • Day 12: Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon.
  • Day 13: Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the 'White City' of Arequipa (2350m).
  • Day 14: Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima.
  • Day 15: End Lima.
  • 13 nights en suite hotels and 1 night homestay Group normally 5 to 18, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrsTime spent at altitudeTravel by internal flight, train, boat and private busSeveral long drives and early starts ,All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinnerAll accommodation All transport and listed activitiesTour leader throughout (if booking incl. flights)Arrival and departure transfers
  • Any international flights to/from Lima are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Essential Peru tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
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GOOD TO KNOW Download trip notes

No additional cancellation fees apply for this Essential Peru tour. You can cancel the tour up to 62 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 61 days of departure.


For any tour departures within 30 September 2021, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 30 September 2021, a deposit of 10% is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 61 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

Essential Peru tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this Essential Peru tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • This tour has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s ‘Safe Travels’ stamp, which provides travellers with assurance that COVID-19 health and hygiene protocols have been adhered to.
  • An average group size of maximum 10 people have been implemented on this tour to protect against COVID-19. Local authority requirements will furthermore be followed.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing has been implemented on this package tour. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected. Hygiene safety measures and distancing will furthermore be followed in transportation, accommodation and meal venues.
  • Several COVID-19 distancing measures have been adopted on this package tour to keep travellers safe.
If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
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