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Highlights of Peru
9 days
Peru - Trip code PHI

Highlights of Peru

Peru is one of the most fascinating countries in South America. Join us on this nine-day trip to discover its main highlights. We will explore the capital city Lima, the old Inca capital Cusco and Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We will also visit the colourful Pisac Market and have time to try some exhilarating whitewater rafting.

Trip highlights

  • Machu Picchu - Travel by train to the 'Lost City', one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Cusco - Explore the ancient capital city of the Incas
  • Pisac - Visit the colourful market and nearby ruins
  • Lima - Discover the capital city of Peru, also known as the 'City of Kings'
  • Aguas Calientes - Unwind in thermal hot baths (optional)
Accommodation grade:
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you’ll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.


Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join tour in Lima

Join tour Lima and check in to the hotel.

Accommodation: Britania Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Orientation tour of Lima; free afternoon to explore

Founded in 1535 and called the City of Kings, Lima today is both ancient and modern. We will make an orientation tour on foot, passing through the colonial squares and under the intricate modern balconies of old Lima, seeing some of the city's best surviving examples of colonial architecture (optional). Time permitting there might be the opportunity to stroll through Plaza San Martin and Bolivar and enter the fascinating Catacombs of the convent of San Francisco.

Accommodation: Britania Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Fly to Cusco; walking tour of the city and see the Inca wall of Hatunrumiyoc

Today we fly to Cusco. The old capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. Imbued with an atmosphere of mystery and grandeur, the Spanish-style city of today, with its attractive pink tiled roofs, arcaded plazas and steep winding alleyways, stands upon tremendous Inca foundation stones, its links with the Inca Empire everywhere to be seen, from the stone walls that line the city streets, to the museums filled with artefacts and relics of a long dead people. We will make a short orientation tour of the city with the Tour Leader pointing out the key sites, before some free time to continue exploring further. We will see the Inca wall of Hatunrumiyoc with its famous twelve-sided stone (its typical bevelled joints creating the patterns of light and shadow so typical of Incan walls), as well as the rich majesty of the Plaza de Armas and the incredible remains of Qoricancha, once the heart of Inca society. The city itself is filled with monuments to its more recent colonial past too, with churches and galleries in abundance, making it an ideal city to enjoy at your own pace (entrance fees not included).

Accommodation: Inkarri Hostal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Free day, optional visit to Cusco ruins including Sacsayhuaman Fortress

Today has been left free for you to enjoy further optional activities in and around Cusco or perhaps do some souvenir shopping in the winding streets and alleys of the city.

Accommodation: Inkarri Hostal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Visit Pisac Market, see the Urubamba Valley and ruins on the way

Today we visit the market town of Pisac, strategically located at the head of the Urubamba Valley. Pisac once controlled the road connecting the Inca Empire with Paucartambo on its eastern borders and the magnificent Inca ruins that once so dominated this valley still occupy the mountainside above the town, providing a worthy match for any of the temples of Machu Picchu.

Accommodation: Inkarri Hostal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Train to Aguas Calientes; visit Machu Picchu

This morning we transfer to the railway station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, our gateway to one of the greatest of all archaeological sites. The train slowly meanders down the valley, following the tumultuous waters of the Urubamba River through a series of rock cut tunnels before emerging at the small town of Aguas Calientes, serenely nestling amidst a lush landscape of cloud forests. From here we take a public bus up to the mountain complex of Machu Picchu, the fabled 'lost city' of the Incas and probably the most spectacular feat of engineering in ancient America. The rest of our time is then spent in this magnificent city, dividing our time between a guided tour (4 hours) and some free time to explore these spectacular ruins privately. Temples, stairways, palaces and gabled stone dwellings are scattered everywhere, testifying to the energy and ingenuity of the builders. Not without reason is this site probably the most revered tourist attraction in the Americas; its location alone is dramatic in the extreme, teetering on the saddle of a high mountain peak that towers above the valley below. Built in the mid 15th century by Pachacuti, the city was thought to have been a major agricultural centre for the Incan Empire and its inaccessibility seems to have preserved it from the looters of the intervening years, resulting in the remarkably well-preserved ruins that we see today. Returning by bus to our simple accommodation in Aguas Callentes, situated on the valley floor below, this evening then affords a chance to relax in the local thermal baths (optional).

Accommodation: Hanaqpacha Inn Hotel(or similar)

Simple Guesthouse
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - More time to discover Machu Picchu (optional); train back to Cusco

We have another chance this morning to explore the site. It is also possible to climb the steep peaks of either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain to look down on the citadel. Machu Picchu Mountain is a 700m climb from the top of the citadel. There are cobbled stairs all the way up with a few eye-opening drops in some parts, and the round-trip takes about 2.5-3 hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is only 350m, half the size of Machu Picchu Mountain, but much steeper. There are many more sheer drops, and it is definitely not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. For those who fancy doing the 1 hour climb, you'll be rewarded with world-beating views of Machu Picchu, and the feeling that you're standing on a precipice at the top of the world.

These must be pre-paid at time of booking. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you.

We will take the afternoon train back to Cusco.

Accommodation: Inkarri Hostal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - In Cusco; optional whitewater rafting

Today is a free day with a wide choice of things to do. For river-lovers there is the opportunity of a full-day raft-trip (optional and in season) down the Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This is an exciting way to see the valley and no previous experience of rafting is necessary - full instruction and safety equipment are provided. Please note: Participation in rafting requires that you are able to swim 25 metres unaided. Otherwise you may want to relax in Cusco and enjoy the atmosphere of this lively town.

Accommodation: Inkarri Hostal(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 9 - Tour ends Cusco

The tour ends today in Cusco.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Why book this trip

We have created this tour for travellers who want to discover all of the major Peruvian highlights but are short of time. Including the main sites of Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lima and Pisac, this nine-day adventure will not disappoint.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 8
  • Bus
  • Flight
  • Train
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
  • 1 nights simple guesthouse
  • 7 nights standard hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information



There is a rainy season from Dec - Mar however on the coast it rarely rains. Jun-Oct is damp and misty, but temperatures never drop below 10°C. At high altitudes although there are sunny days temperatures can drop dramatically, and conditions can change suddenly.

Time difference to GMT



2 Pin Flat





Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.

Lima - Half day Urban cooking classes Sky Kitchen class US$97 pp; Yummy Class US$77 (both based on a minimum of 2 pers) - These are available to those who arrive early or have pre tour accommodation. On arrival you will receive a message in Reception.
Cusco and the Sacred Valley - Rafting on the Urubamba River US$ 65 (1-4 pers); US$55 (5-8 pers) US$45 (9+ pers); Maras and Moray tour US$58 (based on 4 passengers); Raqchi entrance US$4, Andahuaylillas entrance
Aguas Calientes - Hot Springs US$4.
Machu Picchu - approx US$54 and subject to availability); bus US$25 return;
Huayna Picchu - £80; Machu Picchu Mountain £80 (both including transport) - Subject to availability - these must be pre-paid at time of booking and is non-refundable. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you to avoid being fined
Lima - City tour approximately US$30; Larco Herrera Museum US$41 guided, US$11 unguided; Lima detour - alternative view of the city of Lima US$35 (price may go up if less than 4 passengers).


Select your clothing carefully. A complete set of clothes which can get grubby and muddy are useful. Bring warm clothing such as a warm fleece, thermal underwear, warm hat and gloves for cooler nights in the mountains when temperatures drop dramatically. Lightweight waterproofs are essential. Bring your swimsuit.


Comfortable shoes and lightweight walking shoes and sandals. If participating in the rafting, old trainers are useful (as they will get wet).



Luggage: On tour

One main piece and a daypack and an extra bag for the overnight in Aguas Calientes. In Aguas Calientes - The main bags will be left in storage in your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Remember, you are expected to carry your own luggage (i.e. on and off transport etc.) so don't overload yourself. It is recommended you bring lockable bags.


A good insect repellent is essential. Also bring a small torch, sun hat, sunscreen and a small towel (for rafting and thermal baths).


Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leader may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour. Accordingly, you should allow US$ 40 for tipping.
Country Information


Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Breakfast price
£4.00 - 7.00
Dinner price
£6.00 - 8.00
Beer price
£2.00 - 4.00
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Nuevo Sol
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Carry all your funds in US cash NOT Sterling or Travellers Cheques which are more difficult to exchange. We recommend to take a minimum of US$400-$500 of your total spending money in cash for your tour, in mixed denominations. Notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange.
Where To Exchange
Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
Credit Card Acceptance
In major restaurants.In some establishments Master card is not accepted.
Travellers Cheques
Travellers Cheques are not always easy to exchange.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Flight, Train

Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Peru: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, Australian, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

USA: (including those in transit) Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding.

You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover.

If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel.

Please note for your ESTA application you will be required to supply Point of Contact information. Explore' s USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. If you are leaving for the USA before this, please call the Explore team to get this information.(Not necessary if in transit)

For further information please check out the US embassy website. Visa applications -

Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website:
Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Altitude information

This trip goes to an altitude where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS, or Altitude Sickness) - this is a common and usually harmless condition caused by reduced air pressure and a lower concentration of oxygen.

We have specifically designed this itinerary to allow you to acclimatise gradually. In addition, it is a legal requirement in Peru for transport operators and hotels based at altitude to carry oxygen. In the vast majority of cases, minor symptoms such as headaches and shortness of breath are experienced for a day or two before acclimatising. If any symptoms do occur - whether minor or more severe - then you should let your Explore Leader know immediately.

As this tour reaches altitudes of over 3000 meters, we strongly recommend that travellers with heart or lung conditions, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure or on the pill should seek the advice of their GP.

Please also ensure that your insurance policy covers you to the maximum altitude of 3400m.

Non refundable permits



Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Dates, prices and booking

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