Essential Peru

15 days
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4.7/5 Excellent
100+ reviews  
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Cancellation Policy
Small Group Tour
Journey through the vastly contrasting visual and cultural landscapes of Peru, including coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the altiplano and cloud forest. Along the way, visit world-renowned highlights, including: the mysterious Nazca Lines; Machu Picchu; Lake Titicaca, where we spend the night in an island homestay; and the 9,843ft (3,000m) deep Colc...
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Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Trip pace
Balanced schedule


    • Discover Machu Picchu by train with guided tour
    • Enjoy a homestay on the traditional island of Amantani in Lake Titicaca
    • See Colca Canyon and its soaring condors
    • Wander through the colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent
    • Drive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley

What's this trip about?

    Journey through the vastly contrasting visual and cultural landscapes of Peru, including coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the altiplano and cloud forest. Along the way, visit world-renowned highlights, including: the mysterious Nazca Lines; Machu Picchu; Lake Titicaca, where we spend the night in an island homestay; and the 9,843ft (3,000m) deep Colca Canyon. We also encounter traditional culture, condors, llamas, and a warm welcome from the Peruvian people.Discover the highlights of southern Peru, from Nazca to Arequipa


Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 16 people
Age range16 years and up
Flights and transportAll internal ground transport included
Start CityLima
End CityLima

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • National Parks
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Festivals & Special Events


  • South America
  • Peru


  • Lake Titicaca
  • Lima
  • Machu Picchu
  • Nazca


  • Culture
  • Festivals & Special Events
  • History
  • Nature

Trip includes

    • All breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner
    • All accommodation
    • All transport and listed activities
    • Tour leader throughout
    • Arrival and departure transfers

Popular Trips


Travel Map

Day 1 Start Lima

Welcome to Lima, the busy capital of Peru. There’s plenty of adventure on your trip, but today’s all about settling into the hotel.  You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima. There will be a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held. Accommodation: Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

Day 2 Drive south to Paracas and tour the Ballestas Islands; to Ica

Day 3 On to Nazca; see the Nazca Lines; optional scenic flight

We drive towards Nazca, stopping to visit the viewing platforms overlooking the Nazca Lines. These are one of the great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand. In the afternoon, there is usually time to take a...

Day 4 Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes

We turn inland from the coastal desert today, climbing high into the Andes on a long (around 12 to 13 hours) but spectacular drive. We’ll pass through the largest vicuña reserve in the country, so look out for these smaller wild relatives of the llama. This region has...

Day 5 Drive to Cuzco, visiting Inca sites on the way

We set off towards Cuzco this morning, stopping to visit the Inca Saywite stone and Tarawasi ruins. The glaciated summits of the Vilcabamba mountain range and the descent into the Apurimac River valley demonstrate the dramatic contrasts of the Andes; expect stunning s...

Day 6 Free day to explore Cuzco

To help you acclimatise, we embark on a relaxed walking tour this morning, which takes in the historic buildings and winding streets of Cuzco. The rest of the day has been left free for exploring on your own. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people watching,...

Day 7 Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu

For most people, the highlight of the trip is the visit by train to one of the greatest ruins in the world, the lost city of Machu Picchu. This is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. The...

Day 8 Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.

We have a free morning to sleep in, relax and enjoy the buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins. Should you wish to visit Machu Picchu again this morning, you need to purchase a second entrance ticket in advance.  This will allow you further time to ex...

Day 9 Free day for optional excursions

Day 10 Drive to Lake Titicaca, with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay

Today we travel for eight to 10 hours along the Vilcanota River and onto the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungle. Although it is quite a long drive, the views are often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to help bre...

Day 11 Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands

We explore the island in the morning before boarding our boat for the three-hour journey to Puno on the lakeshore. On the way, we visit Uros Island. The Uros have been living on reed rafts for centuries, and although many have now moved to the mainland there are still...

Day 12 Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon

Today we head across the altiplano again. This time we cross to the southwest, heading back towards the coast to the high Colca Canyon (a five to six-hour drive). En route, we see vicuñas and possibly flamingos, crossing the Patapampa Pass (15,781ft/4,810m) before des...

Day 13 Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the White City of Arequipa

Rise early to view condors soaring on the morning drafts rising out of the canyon. We then ascend out of the canyon and cross Patapampa Pass on our way to Arequipa, which is known as the White City due to the pale volcanic stone used to construct many of its colonial ...

Day 14 Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima

In the morning we visit the huge, serene convent of Santa Catalina. Built in 1580 and only opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it offers a rare insight into the lives led by the nuns and has changed little through the centuries. There are still around 20 nuns li...

Day 15 End Lima

Today we start our return journey home, although there may be time for optional tours of Lima, including visits to the Gold Museum and tours of the historic downtown. You could also join our optional trip extension to the Amazon rainforest, where you explore lakes, rivers and jungle trails in search of incredible wildlife.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $3,595
Price per day$240
Last Updated: 4/12/2024
Start Date
Finish Date
Double Standard
03 May 2024
17 May 2024
21 Jun 2024
05 Jul 2024
1 spots left
09 Aug 2024
23 Aug 2024
13 Sep 2024
27 Sep 2024
1 spots left
27 Sep 2024
11 Oct 2024
18 Oct 2024
01 Nov 2024
2 spots left
01 Nov 2024
15 Nov 2024
15 Nov 2024
29 Nov 2024
8 spots left
04 Apr 2025
18 Apr 2025
8 spots left
25 Apr 2025
09 May 2025
8 spots left

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Exodus Travels.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

Exodus Travels Reviews & Ratings

4.7/5  Excellent


Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Amazing itinery, varied and comphrehensive

Essential trip covers the highlights in 2 weeks covering Andes and Desert Peru comprehensively (Jungle would be an additional bolt on). The itinery was key fo...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

An amazing trip of a life-time!

This was my first experience of Exodus and I was very impressed. All of the communication prior to travelling was excellent and this continued with my arrival in ...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Brilliant Adventure

What a brilliant time we had on our recent visit to Peru. From the moment we met our guide Sebastian at Lima airport the fun started. The itinerary was full on but...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Qué paja el Perú !

Before I went on this holiday, anyone I talked to about Peru seemed to equate it principally with Machu Picchu and Inka trails. Frankly, as beautiful and wondrous...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels


A great and very enjoyable trip with a very good guide / tour leader (Daniel). Such varied culture, food and scenery too. I felt like I learned and saw a lot. My ...

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Tour Operator

Exodus Travels

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It is all about adventure. That is what Exodus was founded upon and what the company is still all about. Discovering countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles; exploring this amazing planet we all live on.

At Exodus, we know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, we always remember that we are only guests. So we travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise our impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

This is a philosophy we take with us around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across over 90 separate countries. We also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as we possibly can, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.

Exodus started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

All our office staff have a passion for travel and adventure, and between us we’ve notched up experience that spans 171 different countries. That’s not all. In their former lives, our team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – so no-one is better placed to create tours that appeal to a wide range of specialist interests.

Their care in putting all the details in place really shines through too. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are a sign of our commitment to providing a holiday where your enjoyment, value for money and safety come first. It’s a telling reason why we remain one of the leading worldwide adventure tour companies. It is no exaggeration to say that our tour leaders can make a world of difference to the enjoyment of your holiday – so we choose them carefully. The result is that, in 2013, 93% of our clients stated that their leader exceeded their expectations. Where possible, we train and employ local leaders because they can provide invaluable insights that enrich the trip. What’s more, this investment in local staff really helps us benefit both them and their community.

Why we love this operator
With a huge range of trip styles and themes, they cater to basically every type of traveler out there- even those with super specific interests.
What they’re known for
Global trips to both classic and exotic destinations with a focus on themed adventures, exciting physical activities and discovery of local culture.

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What's excluded

    • Travel insurance
    • Single accommodation (available on request)
    • Visas or vaccinations


13 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night homestay on Amantani Island with basic shared facilities Travel by internal flight, train, boat and minibus/coach Several long drives and early starts Time spent at altitude,The properties selected for this Peru exploration are a blend of three-star quality and comfort, often within easy walking distance of the local attractions. Our Lima hotel is a welcome escape from the city bustle, while our Cuzco hotel is centrally located in the historic centre. A highlight of this tour is our 'live like a local' Amantani island homestay, which allows us to experience Andean warmth and hospitality. Below are some of the standout places we stay: Lima: El Tambo 1 El Tambo 1 (uno) is our three-star Lima hotel in the lively tourist district of Miraflores. It has a restaurant and lovely small bar near the courtyard garden, where you can enjoy a drink. El Tambo has easy access to local sites, such as Kennedy Park, the Larcomar Shopping Center and the Miraflores clifftop promenade where you can enjoy great views of the Pacific Ocean. Ica: Hotel Villa Jazmin Surrounded by dunes and pisco distilleries, Hotel Villa Jazmin is an oasis of comfort in Ica. After a day of touring in the desert sun, Villa Jazmin invites you to relax by the pool and enjoy a cold drink from the bar (we recommend a pisco sour made with locally produced pisco – highly recommended). Cuzco: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha is built around two 18th-century manor houses and is located in the heart of historic Cuzco, three blocks from the main plaza. The hotel and rooms feature local décor and textiles reflecting local Andean designs. Amantani island: Homestay Our trip includes an unforgettable homestay with a local family on Amantani island. This wonderful community project has guests staying with multiple families; the hosts share in the proceeds, which benefits both the Amantani community and the visitors who enjoy and learn from this unique cultural experience. Colca Canyon: Hotel Pozo del Cielo Experience the charm of Hotel Pozo del Cielo as we visit Colca Canyon and the surrounding communities. With an inviting ambiance, panoramic views and warm hospitality, this comfortable hotel welcomes us with cosy rooms, a relaxing bar and a restaurant serving Peruvian delicacies. Worth knowing On our way from Nazca to Cuzco, we overnight in Abancay. Our Hotel de Turistas Abancay hotel is basic, yet functional for a restful overnight stay. Amantani homestay: The rooms are basic but clean and the beds have sheets and plenty of blankets to keep you warm. Toilets and washbasins are located outside. Single rooms can be booked for single supplement, subject to availability at the time of booking. This supplement covers single rooms throughout the trip, except for the homestay on Amantani island.
Cancellation policy

The cancellation policies of this trip when booked through Travelstride are determined by the stated policies of the tour operator - Exodus Travels.

If you or any other member of your party decides to cancel a confirmed booking you must notify Travelstride in writing. Your notice of cancellation will only take effect when it is received in writing by Travelstride and will be effective from the date on which we receive it.

If You Cancel Your Holiday
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the lead name or your travel agent must be received at our offices. 

Since we incur costs in canceling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay cancellation charges as follows (see also the exceptions below): 

  • More than 42 days - No cancellation fee. Deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original booking. Any remaining balance will be refundedThis excludes all non-refundable costs as set out in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 41 and 21 days (inclusive) - No cancellation fee. Balance and deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original bookingThis excludes all non-refundable costs as further explained in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 20 and 15 days (inclusive) - 80% of the holiday cost
  • 14 days or less; or failure to join the holiday (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Certain trips may involve different cancellation charges; you will be advised if this is applicable to your holiday during the booking process.For Polar holidays, the following cancellation charges will be made for all Polar holidays. Period before departure in which you notify us: 

Cancelation charge

  • More than 133 days - Deposit only
  • 133 days or less (or failure to join the holiday) (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Notes (i) Your deposit is non-refundable, even if the cancellation charge calculated is lower than the deposit amount paid; (ii) If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges; (iii) certain travel arrangements may be subject to higher cancellation charges and could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements from the moment the booking is confirmed.

If You Change Your Booking

If, after our Booking Confirmation has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the lead name or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of $60, and any further cost we incur in making this alteration (including those charged by third party suppliers who provide the component parts of your booking).  You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. Note: Certain travel arrangements may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.

You can transfer your booking to another person, who satisfies all the conditions that apply to this booking, by giving us notice in writing at least 7 days before departure provided that the new lead passenger accepts the transfer and these Terms and Conditions. Both you and the new traveler are responsible for paying all costs we incur in making the transfer. Please bear in mind that certain airlines and other transport providers treat changes as a cancellation and charge accordingly, up to 100% of the cost for that part of the arrangement. Where applicable these charges will be passed on to you.

If We Cancel Your Booking

Exodus reserves the right to cancel an itinerary before departure for any reason whatsoever, including too few participants ,logistical problems, a Force Majeure Event (as defined in Section 8), or any other circumstances that may make operation of the trip inadvisable. All trip payments received will be promptly refunded, and this refund will be the limit of Exodus’s liability without any further obligation on Exodus’s part. Exodus is not responsible for any expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip, including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing, visa or passport fees, or other trip-related expenses.

If We Change Your Booking

  1. Changes to the price. We can change your holiday price after you’ve booked, only in certain circumstances. Changes in the price of the carriage of passengers resulting from changes to the cost of fuel or other power sources, the level of taxes or fees imposed by third parties including tourist taxes, landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or exchange rates mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked.

  2. Changes other than the price. It is a term of your booking that we are able to make changes to any aspect of your booking. If the change is insignificant, we will ensure that you are notified about it. Examples of insignificant changes include alteration of your accommodation to another of the same or higher standard. If we are forced by circumstances beyond our control to alter significantly any of the main characteristics of the travel services that make up your package you will have the rights set out below.

    2.1 - We will contact you and you will have the choice of accepting the change or having a refund of all monies paid. You can also accept an alternative holiday, where we offer one (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). We will tell you the procedure for making your choice. Please read any notification of changes carefully and respond promptly as if you do not respond to us within the timescale given your booking may be canceled.

    2.2 - If you choose to accept a refund then that is the only liability we have and we will not be liable for any further sums, compensation or otherwise and you are advised to adequately insure yourselves against cancellation for any reason

Please note that insurance premiums and amendments charges are not refundable in any circumstances. 

Once you have put down a deposit for a tour, you are unable to cancel and re-book within a promotional period and we reserve the right to amend the pricing on any new booking you make within that time. If you cancel a tour and book the same tour under a promotional code, we reserve the right to decline the booking.

Important Note: Certain arrangements may not be amended after they have been confirmed and any alteration or cancellation could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements in addition to the charge above.

If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.

Where possible, we will deduct the cancellation charge(s) from any monies you have already paid to us.

For more additional details, see the booking conditions of TruTravels at the following web address:

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance alongside your travel package to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other contingencies. It offers you peace of mind and ensures you are prepared for unexpected events that may occur before or during your journey
Visa requirements
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included
All breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner (at the homestay) are included. The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. Free drinking water will be provided in large containers, so please bring a refillable bottle with you. Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dish, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat- or gluten-free products will be available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food from home. Where lunch and dinner are not included we'll visit a variety of local cafes and restaurants. Peruvian cuisine is loved for its flavours and originality; it’s well worth digging into the local delicacies. Among these are ceviche (seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry), and various hearty soups including the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steak. To drink, there’s pisco sour, the national beverage.
Age Requirements
16 years and up
Additional Information
13 nights hotels and one night homestay Group normally five to 18, plus leader. Minimum age: 16 Time spent at altitude Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus Several long drives and early starts
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