From the cloud-capped Andes to the humid Amazon basin, Peru is the quintessential Latin American destination rich in history, culture, adventure and wildlife.
The citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites, its narrow terraces clinging spectacularly to a mountain ridge. Nearby, the ancient Inca capital Cusco reveals its fascinating past in layers - terracotta-roofed colonial houses built on the foundations of previous civilisations.
An arid coastal plain stretches along the entire Pacific coast, highlighting archaeological gems such as the vast ruined city of Chan Chan, the tomb of the Lord of Sipán, and the mysterious Nasca lines etched in the southern desert.
Peruvian culture is a heady mix of influences. Indigenous people trade crafts and textiles in busy markets and celebrate festivals with music and dancing. Quechua or Aymara are spoken alongside Spanish, and gastronomy is a delicious fusion typified by ceviche accompanied by a pisco sour.
If you have a taste for adventure, try river rafting in a canyon with condors soaring overhead; trekking or biking along remote mountain trails; or sailing on the world’s highest navigable lake, Titicaca. Or travel by boat to remote rainforest lodges in search of giant otters, shimmering birds and butterflies and the secretive jaguar.
Here are some of our Peru highlights
Peru is a wonderful country for the adventurous and the Sacred Valley and Cusco are a great base for activities. Try stand-up paddle boarding on Laguna Huaypo, rafting on the roaring Urubamba river or even mountain biking past the salt flats at Maras.
The Sacred Lake
The highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca is the mythical birthplace of the first Incas, Manco Capac and his sister Mama Ocllo. Centuries ago, the local Uros people began building floating reed islands on the lake and many still live on them today.
The Inca, despite their other successes, never discovered the wheel, but maybe they didn't need it, as Peru is made for walking. Criss-crossed with trails along remote mountain paths to traditional villages and through spectacular valleys, possibilities abound.
The spectacled bear is South America's only surviving native bear. They are mainly herbivorous (including Aunt Lucy's predeliction for marmalade) and live in the humid cloud forests of the western Andes. Peru has several projects to protect the species, threatened by habitat loss.
Ancient Inca sites
The ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the world's most iconic archeological sites. With its narrow terraces clinging spectacularly to a mountain ridge high above the winding Urumbamba river, it really is an awe-inspiring site.
We would like to thank you so much for making our honeymoon the trip of a lifetime. You immediately understood the balance we were looking for between the luxuries we wanted on our honeymoon and our desire to explore South America. Even though I thought I knew what to expect (I kept it a surprise until we checked in at Heathrow) it was better than I could ever have imagined. Everything ran so smoothly, it was so nice to be met everywhere by friendly and informative reps who knew exactly what was happening, not just with their responsibilities but coordinating with each other so that the whole thing was seamless. I can be a bit of a control freak but quickly realized there was nothing to do but relax and let the holiday unfold..
Lake Titicaca was a fantastic introduction to Peru, the people, the landscape and that it’s the birthplace of the Incas. The train journey was great fun too. After the hustle and bustle of Cusco, exploring the Sacred Valley with Pepe from Amazonas was just what we wanted. We can’t give enough credit to him for opening our eyes to the history and the current issues while having a great time with us. He was the star of our trip. The mountain biking was awesome. Then there was the trek with Mountain Lodges. This was really a highlight. The fact that we barely passed any other groups en route meant that we nearly always had the mountains to ourselves. The lodges were beautiful and exceptionally friendly. Our guides were excellent. They did a great job of pacing the trek to the needs of everyone in the group while being able to talk expertly about the environment and history surrounding us. We enjoyed it so much we didn’t want to leave! In summary, I think what made the whole trip work so well is how it built to the crescendo that is Machu Picchu, not just in terms of adventure and awe but history and understanding. Coupled with the fact the only decisions we had to make were what to choose off the menu, the whole experience was truly a trip of a lifetime and exceeded all our expectations. - AT & AP