Essential Peru

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ends on 26 Sep 2018
This tour is operated by
Essential Peru - Exodus Travels
Essential Peru - Exodus Travels
105 reviews
+15 Destinations
Andes Mountains


  • Take a boat to the Ballestas islands
  • View the mystical Nazca LInes
  • Explore the lost city of Machu Picchu
  • Visit Uros floating islands
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Max Group Size
Coach / Bus
Travel style
Adventure, Train & Rail
Start and end in Lima! With the adventure tour Essential Peru, you have a 15 day tour package taking you through Lima, Peru and 14 other destinations in Peru. Essential Peru includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

105 Reviews

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  • Essential Peru reviewer 1
    Written on October 16, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    This trip is amazing, I can't believe all of the amazing things that we saw in such a short time. There is a lot of travelling involved but it is all worthwhile.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Machu Picchu - Seeing the site for the first time was amazing! I couldn't believe the size of the site and the location is idyllic, high up in the mountains. We were lucky and had a day of sunshine and managed to get some incredible photos.Standing at 16,000 feet high at Mirador de los Andes. The views were incredible and this was the highest altitude I will probably ever stand at!Exploring Cuzco - I loved walking round this city, the feel and atmosphere of it is great. The views are incredible of the Andes!Nazca Lines - I took the fly over the Nazca Lines and the views are incredible. I did feel sick as the plane banks sharply so if you go on this trip, take some travel sickness tablets!  What did you think of your group leader?Marcial was brilliant, he was full of information, we could ask him any question and he would always have an interesting answer. He was very organised and we always got to places on time. We were all kept informed when a miners' strike meant that we wouldn't be able to go to Taquile and Amantani Islands on Lake Titicaca the next morning and instead thought of something else for us to do.He is fun to be around with a great sense of humour and even came clubbing with us on a couple of nights! Also at the end of everyday he would be available if you needed to talk with him in private about anything troubling you. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take part in everything that you can and also tell your bank that you are going to Peru. I forgot to tell mine and they blocked my card in Cuzco when I went to a cash point to withdraw money!I found it useful to take a notebook and write down all of the places that we visited, I would never have remembered them all back home without it.Is there anything else you would like to add?This trip is amazing, you never really stop and get a chance to look back on everything you've seen on the trip but once back home you get to take stock and think of all the amazing things you saw. I would love to go back one day and hope to do another trip with Exodus next year. I was very impressed with the organisation and felt very safe the whole time - book and enjoy the trip!

  • Essential Peru reviewer 2
    Written on September 16, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A tiring but absolutely amazing trip. Best way to see a lot of the amazing sights and scenes Peru has to offer. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Walking up to the entrance to Macchu Picchu and looking down on the old city. Also seeing the condors was amazing, almost able to touch them they were flying so close, our guide Marcial definately knew the right place to stand.What did you think of your group leader?Marcial was a pleasure, he was very knowledgeable and knew all the best angles and times to view all the amazing things from. He always got us to the towns and cities on time so we didn't miss a thing, and even when things didn't entirely go to plan he was always quick with a backup.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Just be aware of the altitude, it is the main thing that affected members of the group. The coca tea did seem to help most people though.Is there anything else you would like to add?It was just an absolutely amazing trip. The early starts were a must as we got to our locations at the best possible times to see everything. Our guide Marcial was a joy to have and kept us all on target. I would reccomend this trip to anyone who would like to get around as much of Peru as they can.

  • Essential Peru reviewer 3
    Written on August 28, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    One word describes this Exodus trip - 'exceptional.' ‘Essential Peru’ is a comprehensive trip covering the highlights of such a wonderful country. Trip is really well planned and paced allowing one to discover the dramatic contrasts Peru has to offer. From deserts to glaciated summits - this trip has it all.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Every day of the trip has something to offer but nothing beats - Machu Picchu. The lost city of the Inca is set in an unrivalled backdrop - a true marvel of Mother Nature.  Other trip highlights are the Condors flying high over the Colca Canyon and the drive through the Vilcabamba Mountain region. The visit to the floating Reed islands and the Amantani island home stay also proved to be unforgettable experiences.What did you think of your group leader?Marcial - our tour guide was a highly knowledgeable person and gave us a thorough insight of Peruvian history, culture and lifestyle.  Throughout the course of the trip he recommended several good eateries - which were not only very good value for money but an experience in itself for example; meat served on volcanic stone. Eating together as a group also helped to enhance group dynamics - by the end of the trip we became one 'family' - hanging around together sharing jokes and past experiences.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Our main concern prior to the holiday was altitude sickness - however there is a gradual ascent - which makes acclimatization easier. It important to stay properly hydrated during the tour and consider taking Diamox (Acetazolamide). The tour involves walking - don't forget to take comfortable clothes and a good pair of walking shoes. The weather varied considerably during the day - layered clothing is ideal. Viewing the Nazca lines from the platform proved to be disappointing - the plane ride was good value for money since it offered a better insight of the vastness of the designs.Is there anything else you would like to add?A highly recommended trip, particularly those seeking to add a South American Flavour to their travel experiences !

  • Essential Peru reviewer 4
    Written on August 28, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    One word describes this Exodus trip - 'exceptional.'

  • Essential Peru reviewer 5
    Written on August 15, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    The trip of a lifetime.So many varied sights and experiences packed into a fortnight made even better by a hugely supportive,friendly and entertaining set of fellow travellers and a brilliant guide.  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Each day had special moments. The first glimpse of Machu Picchu and the elation of reaching the Sungate from someone who is not as fit as they should be! The thrill of watching the condors gliding only a few feet above our heads at Colca Canyon, visiting the Inca sites, the market at Cusco, experiencing a much simpler way of life during the homestay on Lake Titicaca,  hearing the silence and watching the stars. All the people we met were so kind and welcoming.     What did you think of your group leader?Marcial was fantastic. He gently but firmly ensured that we all were ready for our early starts (I mean early-5,5.30 am) in the morning. He was incredibly knowledgeable on so many different aspects of life and the history of Peru and answered our questions with unending patience and good humour. He also arranged many different dining experiences and sight seeing opportunities which went above and beyond what was expected of him.  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take plenty of layers of clothing. There are extreme fluctuations in temperature especially at Lake Titicaca ,Cusco and the Colca Canyon. It helps if you have a reasonable level of fitness. There are an awful lot of steps, many extremely steep at the main Inca sites and the walk to the homestay on Amantani island is strenuous! If you have time .read up on Inca history and civilisation. I am doing that now but it would have been helpful to have had some of that knowledge before seeing the sites.Is there anything else you would like to add?This  was the first trip I had "gone it alone." The level of organisation and care I experienced quickly made me relax and enjoy the trip to the full. Go for it!

  • Essential Peru reviewer 6
    Written on August 13, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Essential Peru packs a huge punch. It's 14 days of none stop action, sights and experiences. It's tiring at times but gives you a wonderful flavour of a wonderful country.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Seeing Machu Picchu from the sun gate.Flying over the Nazca LinesExperiencing the warmth, friendliness and peace of a village stay on Lake TiticacaExploring the streets of CuscoWhat did you think of your group leader?Marciel was the star of the show. A consummate entertainer, informer and educator who never failed to go the extra mile to ensure every member of the group gained the maximum from the tour. He was a man so obviously in live with his wonderful country that his enthusiasm swept us all along with him.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be aware that there is a wide range of temperatures within the day and pack accordingly.Be aware that mosquitoes can be an issue for some people.Be aware that much of this tour takes place at altitude and strenuous activity can, quite literally, take your breath away!!Is there anything else you would like to add?I gained so much from this tour it far exceeded my expectations. The hotels were great as was the food and drink. I can't believe we packed so much in to such a short amount of time. Well done Exodus, this was a well planned and executed tour.

  • Essential Peru reviewer 7
    Written on June 23, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    From start to finish this is a full on adventure - constantly on the go but seeing so much as a consequence.  Stunning scenery and very friendly people.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Climbing up to Machu Picchu and the view from  the guard house.  Awesome!What did you think of your group leader?We were so lucky as we had a wonderful Peruvian guide called Fabricio who encouraged us to participate fully in everything and  Roz from Bath Travel who was so very helpful and supportive.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Go with an open mind and be prepared to try anything - also pack for very cold conditions as well as warm - the air in the mountains is extremely chilly.  Take  immodium and paracetamol in case of problems - we all had a day not feeling too well.Is there anything else you would like to add?Just enjoy everything offered.

  • Essential Peru reviewer 8
    Written on June 17, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    For a Solo Traveller who wishes to see as much of a Country as possible then this is the trip for you.  From start to finish this trip was well organised and ran like a well oiled machine.  There was a lot to pack into this trip and this required some very early starts (like 4am wake up calls!!!) but we compensated by going to bed early - well some of us did?? Whilst the journeys between destinations were long the scenery was absolutely stunning and more than made up for it.   The food was delicious, Alpaca Strogonoff highly recommended (tasted like pork loin), roast guinea pig tasted just like chicken. Accommodation first class, people very friendly - a trip you will never forgetWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Seeing Machu Picchu  and exploring the site was awe inspiring - be prepared for some serious walking up and down the terraces and up and down umpteen steps.  We were very fortunate to see at least 15 condors flying in Colca Canyon and one landed on a rock that was so close even my small digital camera took a reasonable photo.  I would recommend a very good camera with zoom lens fortunately a member of our group had one and has sent us the superb photo's he took of the condors, eagles, flamingoes and humming bird.What did you think of your group leader? Our Tour leader Marcial was excellent, a mind of information and nothing was too much trouble.  He took us to some excellent resturants where the food was first class and not too expensive.  Nothing was too much troubleDo you have any advice for potential travellers?You will need to have a moderate fitness level to climb the Inca terraces. There is a 1hour hike to Amantani Village which is all up hill, anyone with knee joint problems will struggle with this part of the trip. What we saw of the Nazca Lines were disappointing and it was recommended that they be viewed from a light aircraft at an extra cost of $100 + 25 Soles airport tax.  Those that did the trip stated it was well worth doing.The flight is long and Air France seats are compact with very little leg room - try and get an aisle seat.US$ dollars travellers cheques can be difficult to exchange and the rate is very poor I would recommend exchanging the majority of your dollars into SolesIs there anything else you would like to add?This is a trip of a lifetime - do it!!

  • Essential Peru reviewer 9
    Written on June 10, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Excellent trip if you want to see as much as possible in time available. Long journeys but broken up and comfortable transport. Marcial our guide was excellent - thankfully he had a great sense of humour!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Hard to beat Machu Picchu but Lake Titicaca and Colca canyon came close. The scale and diversity of the landscape is amazing.What did you think of your group leader?Marcial our group leader was excellent. Great sense of humour and knowledgable.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?If you want to see as much of Peru as possible in a short timescale go on this trip.Is there anything else you would like to add?A big thanks to Marcial our group leader for looking after us. The scenery is spectacular and the people friendly. If you love mountains don't miss the Andes.

  • Essential Peru reviewer 10
    Written on April 30, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    Peru is a beautiful country - there's lots to see and experience What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Classically it has to be Macchu Picchu - an amazing place and luckily we  had glorious weather too. Have to say watching the condours came a very close second  What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader was Marcial. He was a very good leader - informative (history, politics, literature, geology, flora and fauna were just some of the subjects covered). On the days where there was free time, he always offered to do something else for the group and all we had to do was pay for the transport. At meal times he ensured that we all had our own bills. Marcial made sure we all knew there was time set aside everyday if anyone needed to speak to him privately....overall he was great. Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Go and see everything that you have the opportunity to go and see - extra bits such as the hot springs  / Inca town & sites / Nazca lines flight are not included but will be on offer.....take a little extra cash and go everywhereFor the homestay, your guide will arrange for some gifts for the family however take something from home. We took some little Easter eggs, union jack pencils and pencil case and books for the kids....they were very much appreciated. Get involved in in the homestay - the families could not be more hospitable and welcoming  Is there anything else you would like to add?As others have said, there are long days on the coach (minimum hours would be 5) so do be prepared for that. It's worth it though....And enjoy the pisco sours....... 


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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Lima.
  2. Day 2: Drive south along the coast and sail to the Ballestas Islands, home to the highest concentration of marine birds in the world; overnight in Ica.
  3. Day 3: On to Nazca; see the Nazca lines; optional scenic flight.
  4. Day 4: Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes.
  5. Day 5: Drive to Cuzco (3400m) visiting Inca sites on the way.
  6. Day 6: Free day to explore Cuzco.
  7. Day 7: Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu.
  8. Day 8: Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.
  9. Day 9: Free day for optional excursions.
  10. Day 10: Drive to Lake Titicaca (3800m), with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay.
  11. Day 11: Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands.
  12. Day 12: Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon.
  13. Day 13: Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the 'White City' of Arequipa (2350m).
  14. Day 14: Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima.
  15. Day 15: End Lima.

What's included

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  • Accommodation

  • Guide

  • Meals

  • Transport

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  • Insurance

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Questions & Answers

Here we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions about this tour.

  • For this trip, Is it possible to stay in a hotel instead of the one night homestay?

    Unfortunately, that would not be possible. If this trip isn't quite what you were looking for, we still have plenty of fantastic tours. Get in contact with us and our customer support team will work on pairing you with the perfect adventure.

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Essential Peru

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About the countries

Useful things to know before you go



Plugs & Adapters



Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.


These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
Recommended for Peru. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Hepatitis A
Recommended for Peru. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
Recommended for Peru. Ideally 3 months before travel.
Hepatitis B
Recommended for Peru. Ideally 2 months before travel.
Recommended for Peru. Ideally 1 month before travel.
Yellow fever
Recommended for Peru. Ideally 10 days before travel.


Start and end in Lima.
Hold my space
TourRadar can request Exodus Travels to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
TourRadar only requires a deposit of 20% to confirm this Exodus Travels booking. The remaining balance is then payable 60 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 22 November 2018 the full payment of $2,491 is necessary.
Cancellation policy
No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $2491 for Essential Peru, but the deposit of 20% is non-refundable.
Credit Cards
The following cards are accepted for Exodus Travels tours: Visa - Master Card - American Express


Covering a total distance of approx 2,379 km.
  • Lima (Peru)
  • 201 km
  • Reserva Nacional Islas Ballestas (Peru)
  • 26 km
  • Reserva Nacional De Paracas (Peru)
  • 57 km
  • Ica (Peru)
  • 3 km
  • Oasis of Huacachina (Peru)
  • 122 km
  • Nazca (Peru)
  • 352 km
  • Cusco (Peru)
  • 72 km
  • Aguas Calientes (Peru)
  • 8 km
  • Machu Picchu (Peru)
  • 8 km
  • Aguas Calientes (Peru)
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