Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru Holidays

The highlight of any Peru holiday has to be Machu Picchu, the extraordinary remnants of the Incan citadel high in the Andes. The special thing about a Peru holiday is it brings together all that makes South America special, colourful textiles, dense Amazon rainforest, colonial architecture and Andean communities. 

Experiences Recommended by Our Peru Specialists

  • Machu Picchu (of course)
  • Guided 4x4 self-drive holiday visiting the desert, Andes and Amazon
  • Wander the cobbled streets of Cusco and admire the Inca architecture
  • Head into the mountains on foot around the Sacred Valley or Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca
  • Sail on the highest navigable lake in the world and visit the communities on Isla Taquile on Lake Titicaca
  • Listen to the dawn chorus of parrots on the clay licks of Tambopata or Manu in the Amazon
  • Watch as the Andean condors soar on the morning thermals in the Colca Canyon
  • Visit the huge stone citadel of Kuelap in northern Peru and try the new cable car opening in July
  • Try sand boarding or driving dune buggies in the deserts around Nazca
  • Take a luxury cruise on the Amazon
  • Head off the beaten track, visiting the northern route of the Moche
  • Visit numerous pre-Columbian civilisations including the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo or the adobe city of Chan Chan
  • Take in the Paracas Peninsula and Ballestas Island nature reserves, celebrated for outstanding marine wildlife

What to expect on your Peru Holiday

Peru can be loosely divided into three regions: the highlands, the Amazon rainforest and the coast. In the highlands find soaring snow-capped mountains, deep canyons, colourful markets, Inca remains and the Spanish colonial architecture. The Amazon, of course, is thick rainforest. To say that it is diverse is an understatement. Peru has 84 of the planet's 104 recognised ecosystems and contains more than 20% of the known plant and animal species in the world. The coast is home to the capital city of Lima with its mix of colonial buildings, pre-Inca ruins and world-class cuisine. Further south is desert landscape with huge sand dunes and the famous Nazca lines.

Probably no other country in the world has such an astonishing archaeological heritage as Peru. The sights of the south – Arequipa, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley – are well known, those of the north much less so. Yet there is much in northern Peru well worth visiting - the historical city of Trujillo with its churches and colonial homes, the impressive ruins of Chan Chan, the mighty fortress of Kuelap and two of the most famous sites for pre-Columbian art, Sipan of the Moche culture and Tucume with its pyramids and walled citadels.

The food in Peru is excellent, with ceviche being the star attraction. Accommodation ranges to suit every taste and pocket.

Our Peru holidays expertise

Paul and James have between them visited every corner of Peru by plane, train, car, bike, donkey or on foot. They have sampled most of the food, stayed in hotels which range from the really gorgeous to the very simple, and have visited all of the important places and most of the less important. Great people to help you with your holiday to Peru.

Call Paul on 01285 885333 to start planning your Peru holiday.

Peru FAQs

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What clothing should I take to Peru?
It is always best to pack light and while casual dress has become more acceptable in recent years, Latin Americans tend to devote great care to their clothes and appearance. A laundry service is available at most if not all hotels but when you are on the move quickly there is not always the time for laundry and you pay a premium for same day delivery. Where you are travel to in Peru will determine what is best to wear. We find that a good fleece, waterproof jacket, layers and zip-off trousers work well for the chilly mornings followed by warm afternoons in the Andes. Shoes with ankle support such as hiking boots or cross trainers are also good for the uneven terrain and for those who are trekking you may find trekking poles usual for stability.
Aside from clothing a high factor suncream, insect repellent, hat, sunglasses, photocopy of your passport and swimming costume are good things to include.
Will I get to see sunrise at Machu Picchu? Does staying at the Sanctuary Lodge mean I can visit any time of the day?
Unfortunately not. The citadel is open from 6am to 5pm and the Sanctuary Lodge is situated outside of the park. The first buses start around 5am from Aguas Calientes which mean you can join the queue early to be one of the first at Machu Picchu after sunrise which is when the mist is usually hanging as this is situated in the cloud forest.
What is the typical food and drink in Peru?
Peru’s gastronomy has taken off over recent years and with a love of seafood this is very much a speciality in coastal areas including Lima. ‘Cerviche’ being one of the main dishes and roasted cuy (Guinea Pig) in the highlands with many varieties of potatoes and corn. Pisco Sour is the most famous drink in Peru, along with Coca tea, Inka Kola and also if you are feeling adventurous Chicha (local corn beer).
When is the rainy season in Peru?
Generally November through to March. The most rain falls in the months of January, February and early March. We usually advise against travel during this time.
I have heard about some great train rides. Can I include these in my trip?

Absolutely. There are some incredible train journeys such as the Andean Explorer between Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca & Cusco, or the journey from Cusco & the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. We will give you advice about the timetables, classes of travel and luggage restrictions, so that you are prepared for you journey.

How long will I need to acclimatise?

This varies from person to person, generally though it is 24 to 48 hours. We always plan our Peru itineraries to allow for acclimatisation naturally if possible, starting at lower altitudes and working up. Do let us know if you have had difficulties in the past or have specific concerns with altitude; we can incorporate additional time to adjust and include suitable activities.

Can I walk some of the Inca trail? Is this the most beautiful walk?

If you wish to walk a stint of the best known part of the Inca trail, permits are required. These get booked up very quickly so let us know as early as possible. There are many other treks within the Sacred Valley and other parts of the Peruvian countryside. It’s hard to choose a favourite but we will happily advise on what might suit you best depending on how long you would like to be trekking for and whether you are happy with basic camping or would prefer a lodge to lodge option. 


Peru - Andes to the Amazon 4x4 Self Drive

expert led group tour

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Peru - Northern Peru 4x4 Safari

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Peru - Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu in Style

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ECOAN charity tree plant 2016, Peru

Our own mini rain forest

Steppes Travel are now the proud owners of a miniature rain forest in the Peruvian Andes, consisting of 2,000 native trees.

The charity ECOAN planted some 76,000 native trees throughout the Peruvian Andes in 2016, with an ambitious goal to plant 100,000 trees during the coming season. This collaborative effort, with a number of native villages will help restore an endangered habitat in the high Andes of Peru. The first weekend of planting in early December saw hundreds of people from the local community joining together armed with picks and shovels to help plant 52,100 trees.
Journey into the high Andean plains on your own 4WD adventure.

Salkantay Trail, Peru

Big 5 Treks in Southern Peru

Southern Peru is a wonderful area for trekking with plenty of options from easy strolls through villages, to multi-day walks between lodges in the mountains and longer hikes staying in remote camping spots. Most people have heard of the Inca Trail which is an amazing walk but don’t despair if permits have sold out, there are 500 per day issued and they sell out fast, there are plenty of alternative trails which can be just as good if not better.

Classic Inca Trail

This walk is popular for a reason it is spectacular and has it all – mountains, ruins and of course Machu Picchu itself. Travel along original Inca trails over windswept mountain passes, through lush tropical jungle, past bustling villages and lonely ruins arriving at the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. We suggest doing this was over five days, you leave later and thus avoid the crowds, stay at quiet camp sites away from the masses, arrive at Machu Picchu at the quietest time of day in the late afternoon and get a further full day at the citadel the following day.

Salkantay Trek

A beautiful five day trek through high mountains and an alternative walk to Machu Picchu. This trek goes past glaciers, over Salkantay pass at 4650m before heading down into tropical coffee growing areas. Visit Llactapata, an Inca site that has only recently been excavated and one which very few people visit, this area also gives unique views of Machu Picchu. There are far less people doing this trek than the classic Inca Trail so days along the trail will be quiet. End at the base of the mountains upon which the citadel sits, the following day have a guided tour and explore the ruins. This walk can be done camping along the way or staying in remote comfortable mountain lodges.

Lares Trek

A stunning five day trek through remote villages, experience Peru as it was in Incan times. On this walk travel through beautiful mountain scenery, meet traditional mountain communities and visit little known ruins. Life in this area is simple subsistence living, homes are low stone buildings and days are spent tending to alpaca, llama and crops. Quechua is still spoken, the language of the Incas, and traditional red ponchos woven by hand are worn. Relatively few people trek in this area so trails are quiet. End in the town of Ollantaytambo and catch the train to Machu Picchu for a full day of exploration. This walk can be done camping along the way or staying in remote mountain lodges. A good option for families as there is vehicle access along the way, walks can be as long or short as wanted.

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

A challenging yet hugely rewarding seven day trek. This trek connects three fantastic Inca sites all discovered by Hiram Bingham over a 100 years ago - Choquequirao, Llactapata and Machu Picchu. This trek has big climbs and descents and walks along old Inca trails traversing the entire Vilcabamba range from the Apurimac to the Urubamba river. Choquequirao is a huge Inca ruin which very few people visit due to its location. It is bigger than Machu Picchu, has less visitors in a year than MP has in a day and large areas of the site remain covered in vegetation. There is a full day to explore Choquequirao, before moving on to the recently cleared Llactapata ruins and your first view of Machu Picchu. The final day is spent visiting the ruins at Machu Picchu.

Ausangate Trek

This is a stunning five day trek around the 6,384 metre snow covered Ausangate massif, considered to be a mountain spirit by the Inca. This is a circular walk with three high passes over 5,000 metres, amazing views, big snowy mountains, hot springs, waterfalls and colourful lakes. The only people you will see on the trek are locals in traditional, colourful clothes when you pass through remote villages. During the walk see alpaca and llama, there is also the chance to see condors, Andean foxes and viscachas.

Lares Trek, Sacred Valley, Peru

Why Travel to Peru with Steppes Travel

Many people sell holidays to Peru but at Steppes Travel we do it differently. We arrive at the ruins at a different time from the coaches, walk a little further through the market to the quieter area, and find the villages that offer a real insight to rural Peruvian life. Read this blog from our partner on the ground in Peru, about how to see a different Peru.

Client Reviews

Lake Titicaca, Peru
"Great, friendly service. 
Easy to contact representative at Steppes for questions and amendments. Very nice pre holiday pack!"

Menai Ramdoo

Moche Artefact, Peru
''The Steppes team were extremely helpful and very insightful. 
They took great care in arranging every detail of our itinerary.''

Sam Smith

Alpaca, Chile
"It was an expensive trip but it was worth it!
Very friendly and knowledgeable guides and the adventure guides were superb"

Peter Simpson

Peru & Ecuador
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