Lima and Cuzco are two of Peru’s most popular cities. Lima, the capital, boasts incredible 16th century architecture of such importance and historical value the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also home to Circuito Mágico del Agua (The Magic Water Circuit), an array of colourful fountains, catapulting into the air in time to music and leaving an everlasting impression on those who witness it. Cuzco, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also full of history and beauty, and home to iconic Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is also home to an array of museums, restaurants and markets, which only add to the city’s appeal. Both cities, in fact, offer incredible dining, with Peruvian cuisine easy to find and delicious to sample.
Peruvian cuisine is a melting pot of influences, including from the indigenous people, such as the Inca, along with immigrants from Europe, West Africa and Asia, with many dishes that are full of flavour and colour, such as Ceviche, Chupe de Camarones (Shrimp Cioppino) and Papas a la Huanciana (huancayo-style potatoes). Dining varies from gourmet-style to street food, each style underscored by authentic Peruvian flavours. In addition, there are various city markets, such as Mercado de Artesania in Plaza de Armas, selling fresh ingredients and dishes. The national drink of Peru is Pisco, and you’re sure to find the refreshing brandy at most restaurants.
Well-known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu (‘Old Mountain’ in Quechua) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits high above the Urubamba River and offers extraordinary views of the valley below. Said to have been created by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city, it leaves you in awe of the detail in the handcrafted stone that comes together to create the incredible structures. The site was rediscovered in 1911 by an American historian by the name of Hiram Bingham, who came across it by chance while looking for Vilcabamba.
Lakes and Mountains
Peru is full of landmarks and lakes waiting to be explored and ventured. Colca Canyon is known as one of the world’s deepest and is home to over one-hundred species of birds, including the world’s largest flying bird, the Andean Condor. Capturing the sight of these amazing creatures in flight is an unforgettable experience. Lake Titikaka is South America’s largest freshwater lake and a sacred place for the Inca. It is, reputedly, where the first Inca king, Manco Capac, was born, as well as where the god, Viracocha, came out of to create the stars, sun and the first people. Part of the largest river in the world, the Amazon, runs through the north east of Peru from Brazil and there are various excursions and cruises allowing visitors to explore the river, see riverside shanty towns and participate in animal spotting. Peru’s Sacred Valley is home to a collection of incredible Inca and Ollantaytambo ruins, which can be discovered during a luxury rail journey with Belmond or on various excursions.
To the Inca, death was an important aspect of life and the bodies and spirits of their ancestors were worshipped. Human sacrifices were common after or during important events and many mummified remains have been found on high mountain peaks. One of the most famous mummies is Juanita, and the 500-year-old ‘Inca Ice Maiden’ can be seen at the Andean Sanctuaries Museum, which is a fascinating experience. Convento de San Francisco (Saint Francis Monastery) is home to catacombs, where thousands of skulls and bones have been laid to rest, and is a must-see experience if you’re in Lima. Elsewhere, it is believed that Peru’s famous Nazca Lines were created to bring water to the surface to help with irrigation. The etched lines feature animals such as a whale, lizard, hummingbird, spider, monkey and a pelican. To get a true feel for the scale, see them from above on a helicopter or plane tour.
The Andean Condor can be found in Colca Canyon, along with many other species of bird. If you’re a bird enthusiast, the opportunity to see this incredible animal take to the sky cannot be missed. With a wing span of over three metres, it holds the title of the largest raptor in the world. There are many other animals that can be seen in Peru such as, Humboldt Penguins, jaguars and Amazon River Dolphins.
Luxury Rail Travel
Belmond operates two luxury trains in Peru. The first is Belmond Andean Explorer, which travels from Cuzco to Puno, then Arequipa in two full days. A journey to Puno will take a full day, including an overnight stay on board. The Andean Explorer offers an extremely high amount of comfort, with carefully designed cabins allowing maximum space, so passengers can fully enjoy the trip and admire the amazing landscapes. Belmond’s other train is the beautiful Belmond Hiram Bingham, which takes passengers from Cuzco to Machu Picchu in around three-and-a-half hours. While on the train, exceptional food is served, complementing the ambience and fabulous scenery.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
British Airways direct flight from London Gatwick to Lima.
From London Gatwick to Lima: 12 hours, 35 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. View the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/peru