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Mysteries of the Inca Empire

Offer

Price per person
from £2,664

Price based on
London Heathrow
24th Jan 2019 departure

Key inclusions

  • Private home pick-up service
  • Flights
  • Transfers

Book before 31 October and secure your 2019 Long Haul holiday for just £99pp. 

Find out more
  • 12 days

  • Central and South America

  • Active pace

  • Cosmos escorted tours

Great value escorted tours in the world's most captivating places. No other travel company matches our expertise, on-trip experiences - with a great mix of included excursions and free time - and value.

On this Peru tour, delve into the past as you spend time in Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca. Along the way, visit ancient ruins, see beautiful scenery, and enjoy guided sightseeing with Local Guides and a Tour Director dedicated to bringing you these destinations and to helping you learn about the local cultures.

History comes alive on this tour through Peru. Imagine what life was like in the 15th century as you tour the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, where you'll see this famous Inca complex of palaces, plazas, temples, and homes set in a majestic setting. More history awaits at Ollantaytambo, the archaeological site of the Incas’ resistance during the Spanish conquest, and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, a fortress with some of the best examples of Inca masonry. Guided sightseeing in Cusco features the Santo Domingo Monastery, where the Inca foundations remain under the Spanish baroque structures, and the Cathedral, housing a magnificent collection of artwork.

On this Peru tour, you'll also learn about the local culture. On your motorboat tour of Lake Titicaca, you'll visit Taquile Island, where you'll see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past, and the Uros Floating Islands, where you'll learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, and boats from totora reed, a centuries-old practice. In the Incan town of Ollantaytambo and in Sillustani, visits with locals in their homes give you insight into their way of life. Spend time at the Indian market in Pisac and in Awanakancha, learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) to Inca culture.

These are just some of the many highlights of this Peru tour. Designed for savvy, value-minded travellers, it's a holiday of a lifetime!

At a glance

Lima Guided sightseeing, visit San Francisco Monastery

Sacred Valley Guided sightseeing of Awanakancha and Pisac Indian Market; Visit Ollantaytambo, a local home, Seminario Ceramics Workshop, and a chicheria

Machu Picchu Vistadome train to Machu Picchu; Guided sightseeing of the Machu Picchu ruins; stay overnight in Machu Picchu region

Cusco Guided sightseeing, visit Santo Domingo Monastery, the Cathedral, and Sacsayhuaman, see Kenko and Puca Pucara

Lake Titicaca Guided sightseeing of Taquile Island and the Uros Floating Islands; farewell dinner

Sillustani Guided sightseeing, visit a local home

Extend your tour and see even more

  • 5 days: Amazon pre-tour Extension

  • 6 days: Arequipa and Colca Canyon Tour Extension

  • 7 days: Galápagos Cruise

To book your holiday with an extension, call 0330 0588 237 or speak to your travel agent.

What's included

  • Private home pick-up service
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Services of a tour director
  • Accommodation
  • Selected meals
  • All airport taxes
Price match guarantee

With accommodation, transfers, excursions, selected meals, private VIP home pick-up and the services of an expert Tour Director all included in the price, our escorted tour holidays are highly rated by our customers. But should you find a like-for-like tour cheaper elsewhere, we will match its price and give you a further £100 reduction.

Private home pick-up service

Our private home pick-up service is included up to 50 miles to your departure airport. Your driver will happily load and unload your luggage, and drive you to your departure terminal. At the close of your trip, you'll be welcomed by your driver in the arrivals hall and returned home again. A supplement is payable per mile over 50 miles.

Read more about our private home pick-up service.

Customer Reviews

Well organised ,moderately paced and good value....

24th August 2018
Mrs Elizabeth Swain

Well organised ,moderately paced and good value.

Multiple itineraries are available

This itinerary changes on some dates - select your preferred departure date to see the details.


Overview

On this Peru tour, delve into the past as you spend time in Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca. Along the way, visit ancient ruins, see beautiful scenery, and enjoy guided sightseeing with Local Guides and a Tour Director dedicated to bringing you these destinations and to helping you learn about the local cultures.

History comes alive on this tour through Peru. Imagine what life was like in the 15th century as you tour the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, where you'll see this famous Inca complex of palaces, plazas, temples, and homes set in a majestic setting. More history awaits at Ollantaytambo, the archaeological site of the Incas’ resistance during the Spanish conquest, and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, a fortress with some of the best examples of Inca masonry. Guided sightseeing in Cusco features the Santo Domingo Monastery, where the Inca foundations remain under the Spanish baroque structures, and the Cathedral, housing a magnificent collection of artwork.

On this Peru tour, you'll also learn about the local culture. On your motorboat tour of Lake Titicaca, you'll visit Taquile Island, where you'll see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past, and the Uros Floating Islands, where you'll learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, and boats from totora reed, a centuries-old practice. In the Incan town of Ollantaytambo and in Sillustani, visits with locals in their homes give you insight into their way of life. Spend time at the Indian market in Pisac and in Awanakancha, learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) to Inca culture.

These are just some of the many highlights of this Peru tour. Designed for savvy, value-minded travellers, it's a holiday of a lifetime!

Total meals included:

  • 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners

UK - Lima, Peru

Day
1

On arrival you will transfer to your hotel.

Welcome to Lima, Peru. Heralded as the “City of Kings” by Spanish conquistadors, Lima retains vestiges of its opulent past with its colonial buildings and world-class museums.

Lima

Day
2

Sightseeing today focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage. Founded in 1535, Lima was once capital of Spain’s South American Empire. Visit the baroque 11th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, with Spanish and Moorish architecture throughout. Continue to Plaza Mayor, where you will see the Government Palace that houses the presidential palace and was once the home of Francisco Pizarro, founder of Lima and conqueror of Peru. Nearby, see the cathedral where Pizarro’s remains are buried. The remainder of your day is free to explore. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Lima - Cusco - Sacred Valley

Day
3

Fly to Cusco high in the Andes and upon arrival, descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at AWANAKANCHA and learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuña, alpaca, and guanaco) for Inca cultures. See them up close and learn how their coats are transformed into precious weaving fibres used in ancient weaving techniques still in use today. Continue to PISAC, a charming village with a famous INDIAN MARKET, where you have plenty of time to browse the many colourful stalls selling handicrafts ranging from alpaca sweaters and blankets to painted vases and sterling silver. Later, arrive at your hotel in the peaceful Sacred Valley.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Sacred Valley

Day
4

Start the day with a visit to the village of OLLANTAYTAMBO and the Inca ruins of the same name. Explore the archaeological site that was the scene of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest—the only place ever to resist Spanish attacks. See how the temple area at the top of the terraces was the perfect defensive stronghold, then visit a LOCAL HOME in this Incan town to experience life in a traditional village, which has been remarkably well preserved. Next, visit the SEMINARIO CERAMICS WORKSHOP to learn about Peruvian ancient and modern art. End your day at a local chicheria for a taste of a chicha, a typical Inca drink in Peru.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu

Day
5

Board the VISTADOME train that cuts a path through the picturesque Urubamba Valley bound for Aguas Calientes, the quaint town closest to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Ascend the mountainside through tropical forest to the sacred refuge of MACHU PICCHU. Listen as your guide recounts the many accomplishments of the Incas as you tour the terraced ruins dating back to the 15th century. Abandoned when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish, these remarkable ruins remained undiscovered for nearly 400 years. Many mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu remain to this day.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Machu Picchu - Cusco

Day
6

Enjoy some free time this morning to explore the mountain town of Aguas Calientes; perhaps visit the local market, quaint boutiques, or take a walk along nearby trails. Later this afternoon, return to Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Cusco

Day
7

Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Cusco that focuses on the city that was once the political, military, and cultural epicentre of the Incas until the Spanish toppled it. In fact, Inca foundations can still be found in Cusco, with the Spanish baroque structures built on top. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, where these two forms of architecture are melded together with the temple of both cultures atop one another. Also, see the CATHEDRAL in the Plaza de Armas, housing a magnificent collection of artwork, including a depiction of The Last Supper that portrays the apostles dining on cuy (guinea pig). Continue to the hillside overlooking Cusco for a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN. Some of the best examples of Inca masonry can be found at this fortress, where stones weighing up to 350 tons are pieced together to form a complex that could house up to 10,000 men. Learn about the ceremonies and battles that took place here, then see the ruins of Kenko and Puca Pucara before returning to Cusco.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Cusco - Juliaca - Puno

Day
8

Fly to Juliaca, then transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Legend says the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of the lake by the power of the sun god to found the Inca Empire.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Puno. Excursion to Lake Titcaca

Day
9

Experience fascinating LAKE TITICACA today as you embark on a boat tour of the highest navigable lake in the world and its manmade islands. On TAQUILE ISLAND, see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past. This is evident by the Spanish peasant dresses made of Andean textiles— the islanders make some of the finest in all of Peru. Continue to the UROS FLOATING ISLANDS, a group of approximately 40 artificially made islands. Learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, boats, and many other resources completely of tortora reed, a centuries-old practice. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Puna - Juliaca - Lima

Day
10

Return to Juliaca, stopping at the pre-Incan burial grounds of SILLUSTANI en route. See the aboveground tombs, chullpas, in which the Aymara Indians buried their high priests. You will be welcomed into one of the locals’ HOMES for an inside look at life here. Later, a short flight returns you to Lima, where you will transfer to your hotel.

For guests extending their holiday with an Arequipa and Colca Canyon Tour Extension, this morning depart Puno for a scenic drive to Colca Canyon.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Lima - UK

Day
11

Your holiday ends after breakfast this morning.

Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. For guests extending their stay with a Galapagos cruise, after your breakfast transfer to the airport for a flight to Quito.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Home landing in the UK.

Day
12

Print itinerary

Extend your tour and see even more

To book your holiday with an extension, call 0330 0588 237 or speak to your travel agent.

Lima

On arrival, meet your representative and transfer to your hotel for the night.

Lima–Puerto Maldonado–Tambopata Eco Lodge

Fly to Puerto Maldonado, entry to Peru’s Amazon Jungle. Take a Motorboat journey up the Tambopata River to view turtles, caimans, monkeys, and birdlife. Arrive at your Amazon Jungle lodge within Tambopata National Reserve. This afternoon, head out with your Naturalist in search of saddleback tamarins, brown capuchins, agoutis, blue-morpho butterflies, trogons, toucans, and many other species commonly spotted here. As night falls, head out on foot to search for nocturnal wildlife.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Tambopata Eco Lodge

Enjoy a Naturalist-guided canoe ride and walk to see the flora and fauna that thrive in the Amazon. After lunch, head back out with your Naturalist to learn about the endemic plants in this region and spot some more wildlife. This evening, venture back out by canoe with your Naturalist to appreciate the sounds of the jungle at night.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Tambopata Eco Lodge

For more insight into the Amazon, let your Naturalist know what included adventure you would like to take advantage of today—it’s your choice!

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Tambopata Eco Lodge-Puerto Maldonado-Lima

Return to Puerto Maldonado, fly to Lima and join Day 1 of the Mysteries of the Inca Empire holiday.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

To book your holiday with an extension, call 0330 0588 237 or speak to your travel agent.

Puno - Colca Canyon

This morning depart Puno for a scenic drive to Colca Canyon. Enjoy the scenery of Pre-Columbian terraces populated with vicuñas and a variety of birds, stopping for lunch in the town of Chivay. This afternoon, arrive in Colca Canyon.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Colca Canyon

Today, spend time in the COLCA CANYON, an impressive geological formation more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Visit CONDORS’ CROSS, an observation point, where you can view the Andean condor in flight at eye level, followed by a visit to the town of Yanque. This afternoon is free for independent exploration.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Colca Canyon - Arequipa

Drive to Arequipa located in the Chili River Valley and flanked by three snowcapped volcanoes: Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu. Known as the “white city,” Arequipa definitely does justice to its nickname, as its buildings are made of sillar, a white volcanic rock found throughout the area. The stone embellishes the facades of the city’s homes and churches.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Arequipa

This morning, a city TOUR of Arequipa shows off the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral before visiting the Jesuit CHURCH, considered the best example of the mestizo baroque style. Continue to the residential districts of Yanahuara and Chilina, where you enjoy a magnificent view of Arequipa’s countryside and the Mount Misti volcano.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Arequipa - Lima

Fly to Lima today.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Lima

Your holiday ends after breakfast this morning.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

To book your holiday with an extension, call 0330 0588 237 or speak to your travel agent.

Lima-Quito, Ecuador

Board a flight for Quito

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Quito–Baltra (Embarkation)–Galápagos Cruising

Fly to Baltra and visit the highlands of Santa Cruz, marked by extinct volcanoes, lava tubes, and astonishing plantlife. Here, witness giant tortoises in a natural reserve and learn about efforts to conserve these ancient creatures. Continue to the port where you will board the Galápagos Legend.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Galápagos Cruising: Genovesa Island

Wake up at Genovesa Island and encounter a small fur seal grotto before taking a walk up Prince Philip’s Steps where you will see large nesting colonies of Nazca and red-footed boobies. Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels can be observed flying in all directions and, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a short-eared Owl. After lunch on board, visit Darwin Bay to observe frigate birds, red-footed boobies, herons, lava gulls, and many other bird species.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Galápagos Cruising: Santa Cruz & Santa Fé Islands

Back on Santa Cruz, walk by a brackish lagoon where feeding flamingos are often found. Climb Dragon Hill, an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas. At Santa Fé, a large sea lion colony greets you on its white-sand beach. Walk through a cactus forest in search of the endemic Santa Fe land iguana, the largest in the islands and distinctively paler. This island is home to a number of endemic species, including the Galápagos Hawk, Galápagos Snake, a variety of finches, and one of the four species of Galápagos mockingbirds.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Galápagos Cruising: Mosquera Islet–Baltra (Disembarkation)–Quito

Your final visit takes you to Mosquera Islet. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions and is an excellent site for observing shorebirds such as herons and Lava Gulls. Take a dip in the waters and snorkel to see the abundant sea life. Later, disembark and fly to Quito.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Quito

Included sightseeing showcases Quito’s treasures: Independence Plaza and the 16th-century San Francisco Monastery, and the Jesuit’s La Compania Church with its stunning golden altars.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Quito

Your tour ends after breakfast this morning.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

To book your holiday with an extension, call 0330 0588 237 or speak to your travel agent.

Things to note

2020 departures may be subject to itinerary modifications and full details will be published in August 2019. If we have to modify an itinerary, you will have an opportunity to cancel without penalty. See our full terms and conditions for more details.

Hotels

It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative hotels of a similar standard to those shown.

Lima - Jose Antonio Lima Hotel

Located in the exciting Miraflores district, the Jose Antonio Hotel features comfortable guestrooms, a business centre, souvenir shop, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

  • Location

    Av. 28 de Julio, 398, Lima, Peru

  • Facilities

    • Wifi
    • Restaurant on site
    • Bar/lounge
    • Lifts
    • In-room safe
    • Hairdryer

Sacred Valley - La Casona Yucay

Constructed as a private family home in the 18th century, this beautiful mansion has been transformed into a comfortable hotel set around a colourful courtyard with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, spa, communal fireplace, and organic garden.

  • Location

    Av. San Martin 104, Yucay, Peru

  • Facilities

    • Wifi
    • Restaurant on site
    • Bar/lounge
    • In-room safe
    • Hairdryer

Machu Picchu - El Mapi Hotel Machu Picchu

Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo; it welcomes a wide range of guests expecting an uncomplicated visit. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, hot-water pond, gift shop, Internet, and laundry service.

  • Location

    Av. Pachacutec 109, Machu Picchu, Peru

  • Facilities

    • Wifi
    • Restaurant on site
    • Lifts
    • In-room safe
    • Hairdryer

Cusco - Jose Antonio Cusco

Located in the heart of the archaeological centre of America's oldest city. A few minutes from the Plaza de Armas, this hotel has a modern architecture with fine colonial details.

  • Location

    Av. Pardo 1080, Cusco, Peru

  • Facilities

    • Wifi
    • Restaurant on site
    • Bar/lounge
    • Lifts
    • In-room safe
    • Hairdryer

Puno - Xima Puno Hotel

Just five minutes from the town of Puno and in front of Lake Titicaca, Eco Inn Puno provides an ideal base for discovering Peruvian culture and exploring the surrounding areas. With a restaurant that is open from early morning to late night and a lounge with a grand fireplace, the hotel has a constant feeling of comfort and a welcoming atmosphere. Not to mention the beautiful grounds you'll enjoy every day!

  • Location

    Sector Huaje Puno, PUN Peru

  • Facilities

    • Restaurant on site
    • Bar/lounge
    • In-room safe
    • Coffee maker in-room
    • Hairdryer

Why book with us?