Reasons to Visit
The Andes in Peru are home a vast array of micro-climates and eco-systems. Deserts, canyons, high altiplano, lush cloudforest, fertile valleys, snow capped peaks and glaciers, and not to forget classic Inca terracing systems, are all common landscapes that can be seen on a trip within the country.
Beyond the renowned famous Inca trail to Machu Picchu, southern Peru offers dozens of treks and walks. Whether you are seeking a one day walk through Andean villages or a 10 day trek along less-trodden trails then there will be an option for you. Whilst most treks involve basic camping, there are also some lodge to lodge options for those seeking a little more comfort.
Machu Picchu is the obvious draw of any trip to Peru, but there are many more Inca and pre-Incan sites to interest archaeologists and historians at all levels. From the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s to the lesser explored pre-Incan ruins on the northern coast and the vast pre-Incan city of Kuelap, Peru has the greatest array of sites in South America.
Peru has many fine examples of colonial architecture throughout the country. Lima, Arequipa and Cuzco have well documented and beautifully-maintained historical centres that take visitors back to the Spanish era.
The draw for trekkers from across the globe, the Classic Inca Trail takes walkers on a 4-day adventure through the high Andes and past a huge number of small Inca sites, all the way to Machu Picchu. Diversifying in recent years, the trail can offer options for all abilities, budgets and timescales. Alternative Inca trails also provide the opportunity to get away from the mainstream and provide varied levels of comfort.
The jewel in the Inca crown set high on a plateau in the Andes. Breath-takingly beautiful the site rarely disappoints. The trick to exploring these majestic ruins is in the planning process, which is where our country specialists come in.
Easily accessible from Cuzco, the southern Peruvian rainforest has a number of simple lodges, catering for guests who are looking for their first Amazon experience through to the ultimate wildlife enthusiasts. Alternatively, from the northern city of Iquitos, travellers can choose from a number of cruise boats into the pristine Pacaya Samiria Reserve.
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Our Peru specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know Peru inside out.
BethPeru Specialist01993 838 608
RichardPeru Specialist01993 838 624
AnnaPeru Specialist01993 838 626
LizziePeru Specialist01993 838 616
SarahPeru Specialist01993 838 623
HarryPeru Specialist01993 838 646
HollyPeru Specialist01993 838 619
HenryPeru Specialist01993 838 642
ConorPeru Specialist01993 838 643
JoannaPeru Specialist01993 838 636
Peru has an array of ‘must-see’ sights that tend to be visited in a logical route, and at Audley we pride ourselves on being able to offer our clients these classic trips but also something to make your trip a more authentic and personal experience.
During our extensive travels throughout the length and breadth of the country researching hotels and excursions we have discovered some options that will allow you to escape the crowds just for a while, be it a quiet lunch in a hacienda, a homestay or a private Inca Trail walk.
To make the most of the country, trips to Peru tend to be busy affairs with plenty of early mornings and long days, although we will ensure that you have time to rest, and also time to acclimatise to the altitude.
Internal flights (which tend to be scheduled in the mornings, hence the need for early starts) are used where necessary, but wherever possible we prefer to make use of the spectacular road and rail journeys that link the main towns and sights.
Spanish is the official language, English is spoken in tourist areas. Many indigenous communities in the highlands still have the ancient languages of Quechua and Aymara as their mother tongue.
Seafood is a speciality in the coastal areas, especially the traditional 'ceviche', fish marinated in lemon juice and hot peppers. Highland cuisine is based around corn and potatoes, there are many nutritious and tasty soups and the main delicacy is roasted guinea pig ('cuy'). The most famous drink is pisco, a white grape brandy with a unique taste. Coca tea is made from an infusion of coca leaves and helps to ward of altitude sickness, the most popular soft drink is the national institution of Inca-Kola, a luminous yellow drink that is probably best avoided.
Tipping for good service is an accepted fact. Amounts are discretionary.
The Peruvian currency is the new sol. Change is always in short supply. ATM's are available in the major cities and towns. Most machines take all debit cards, as well as Cirrus and Plus cards. Visa and Amex are widely accepted (Mastercard to a lesser degree). If you want to bring traveller's cheques, they should be in US dollars, and not sterling although in general the rate of exchange and commission charges will not be as favourable as that received with cash or cards.
Joe Simpson, 'Touching the Void'. A gripping true story recounting one man's struggle with a near fatal accident in the Andean Huayhuash mountain range and his pure determination to survive all the elements. The book has some great descriptions of the Peruvian Andes and Joe Simpsons trek in central Peru.
At least once in your stay in Peru you will experience the unforgettable sound of the 'Flight of the Condor' with pan pipes, charangos and zamponas.
John Simpson's 'In the Forests of the Night'. This account by the BBC news editor of the Peruvian Shining Path touches on the problems encountered by Peruvians during the terror years of this extreme movement in the early nineties. 'The Motorcycle Diaries' by Che Guevara. A great moment when Che and Ernesto struggle up the Inca Trail and a small Andean local sprints past with no effort at all.
Ceviche on the coast of Peru. A delicious dish served best before midday, raw fresh fish and seafood marinaded in lime juice, onions, chilli peppers and garlic.
Chicha. Look out for the red flag hanging outside the Peruvians front doors. The locals brew this ancient recipe in their own home, a complex process of boiling fresh maize, crushing it, reboiling it and letting it ferment for a few days, then they serve it to passers by for about 30p a glass. A fresher alternative is a non-alcoholic version called Chicha Morada, it is a very tasty soft drjnk often served with lunch made from the purple corn growing in many of the fields in the Andes.
Amazon, Machu Picchu, the Incas, ponchos and panpipes.
Pick up some good quality leather shoes in Lima and some warm alpaca jumpers to keep warm in the winter.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Peru by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in PeruWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in South America:ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilChileColombiaEcuadorGuyanaParaguayThe Falkland IslandsThe Galapagos IslandsUruguayVenezuela
Condé Nast Favourite Specialist Tour Operator 2010
Wanderlust Travel Awards Tour Operator 2013
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Sunday Times Value For Money Awards 2011
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