Planning for Peru
Peru is the most popular destination in South America for visitors from the UK and it's no wonder why.
Peru has an amazing range of scenery (think mountains, rainforest, desert, ocean), the cultural legacy of the Incas, superb outdoor activities and an increasingly recognised cuisine.
Here's my quick guide to the first steps in planning your Holiday to Peru. I led tours throughout Peru and South Americafor several years so I know Peru intimately - it's my favourite place in South America.
Of course – everyone’s heard of Machu Picchu Picchu and there is hardly a tailor-made Peru Tour I put together which doesn’t include Machu Picchu.
It’s likely to be number one on your list of must see sights in Peru and rightly so – it’s everything you imagine and more and one of the most amazing sights in South America if not the world.
Machu Picchu is easily reached from the city of Cusco. It’s a train and bus journey via the town of Aguas Callientes. It’s usually done as a day trip from Cusco or the Sacred Valley. Alternatively, you can stay overnight at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge for a really luxurious experience.
For the ultimate in luxury trips to Machu Picchu you might also want to consider the Belmond Hiram Bingham Luxury Train.
Take a look at our Luxury Holiday to Machu Picchu, Cusco & the Sacred Valley
Cusco & the Sacred Valley
Cusco is the cultural capital of Peru and is also on almost everyone’s list of top places to see in Peru.
It’s a lively, arty city with a great architectural heritage and quite a buzz about it – definitely a place to spend a couple of full days. The altitude can be an issue if you haven’t acclimatised, which is why I often suggest our customers spend a night or two in the Sacred Valley first, because of the lower altitude.
Find some of our most popular Peru Journeys with Machu Picchu & Cusco
The Sacred Valley leads from Cusco towards Machu Picchu along the flow of the Rio Urubamba.
The main attractions of The Sacred Valley, which is just 15 km from Cusco are the Inca ruins at Pisac and Ollantaytambo as well as the beautiful setting.
Almost all flights arrive and depart from Lima, so inevitably it’s included in most Peru Tours, and it’s not somewhere that should be missed if you want to have a really rounded impression of Peru.
Lima has some great colonial architecture and walking tours of Lima are a popular option.
Arequipa & Canyon Country
Arequipa is definitely worth considering on a Peru Tour. It’s something of a cradle of Peruvian culture and the backdrop of Misti Volcano is spectacular.
The monastery of Santa Catalina forms a city within a city in Arequipa and is symbolic of the city and a beautiful place to stroll and enjoy the architecture.
For anyone looking to do some trekking in Peru and have a more active Peru Holiday, going down to Arequipa is a great option. There’s lots of great walking in this region and it’s also the gateway to the spectacular Colca Canyon.
This is a mountainous landscape with beautiful lakes, spectacular canyons and volcanic peaks and a place to see condors and enjoy an iconic region of Peru.
Not very many people are aware of just how good Peruvian cuisine is and Arequipa is the perfect place in which to try out some of the best Peruvian cuisine.
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