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Peru: a land of ancient civilisations and folklore, bursting with colour and music and home to some of the world's most iconic sites and natural wonders. Peru is both literally and figuratively breath taking. A good place to acclimatise and catch your breath is the beautiful city of Arequipa. Here you can visit the Santa Catalina Convent and the nearby museum, which houses the Incan mummy, Juanita the 'Ice Maiden'. From Arequipa you can embark on a trip to the 3km deep Colca Canyon, a nesting site for condors who glide on the warm air of the thermals. Peru is synonymous with Andean and Incan culture and any visit to this beguiling country should include Cusco, a remarkable city with its mix of Inca and Spanish culture. Once the capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco is the gateway to Peru's most dramatic highlight: Machu Picchu. Arrive at the Sun Gate at first light for a glimpse of this Inca citadel appearing beneath the morning mist. Peru is also filled with an array of natural wonders including magical Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world. The extraordinary Amazon rainforest, with its abundant flora and fauna, is a dramatic contrast to the Andean scenery of the centre of the country and the mysterious Nazca lines carved into the arid desert landscape to the west.
Peru with A&K
Our returning guests don't just like Peru, they love it. Absolutely adore it. They've written extensively about its charms, highlighting a visit to the iconic mountain top citadel of Machu Picchu with the renowned Alfedo Mormontoy. The former resident archaeologist revealed small, little known details about the blockbuster site that spoke volumes about Inca life - a perfect match of dramatic location and top-notch insider knowledge.
And that's just the start. They've enthused about a private recital we arranged in a converted monastic chapel where traditional instruments included animal bone and feathers; praised our guide Luis Silvera, a former professional drummer who revealed Cusco's best live music, and recalled an exclusive lunch in a private hacienda overlooking the Sacred Valley with a tour of the owner's wonderful Pre-Columbian art collection, followed by a private weaving demonstration.
A&K knows Peru inside out. Our offices in Lima and Cusco have 35 multi-lingual staff and long-established contacts with the best hotels - lovely and authentic, not just luxury - smartest guides, and specialists in everything from art to archaeology. In Cusco we also have 'guardian angels' on call 24/7 for any requirements. Small wonder we've hosted 11 Presidents, and eight first ladies.
But travel to Machu Picchu and Peru with Abercrombie & Kent and you'll see far more than just the famous Inca site. You'll cruise the Amazon aboard Aria, stopping in at indigenous villages in the teeming jungle. We've received sent vivid accounts from our returning travellers of feeding baby manatees, spotting caiman in the inky black night (-well, if you will tell our guide you're the adventurous type) and champagne sundowners alongside gambolling pink dolphins.
There's Lima's splendid colonial architecture, the north's extraordinary pre-Inca pyramids, and south's enigmatic Nazca lines and Colca Canyon, twice as deep as its grand American relative.
It's all waiting for you, but you need a tour operator whose staff really know the lay of the land. Step forward our driver who suddenly pulled over and stopped on a remote road. He'd seen a guest using his mobile and knew the signal would vanish around the next bend. Now that, we'd say, is local knowledge of the highest order.
Best time to be there
Being such a geographically diverse country the weather in Peru is determined both by altitude and season. May to October is the best time to travel although the Amazon area is hot and humid throughout the year.
Lima - LAN Airlines, daily via Madrid
GMT -5 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate required if arriving from an infected area.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Nights: 25 | from £70,600
An incredible around-the-world trip by private jet taking in spectacular destinations, like Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Monaco... Find out more
Holiday type: Group departure
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Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Graeme, Charlie, Melissa, Dave, Kerry and Kelly are experts in designing the perfect holiday in Latin America to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of our hotels and resorts featured in our portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout the region, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
To find out more about our Latin America team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 701 or enquire online
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The final day in Cusco was outstanding and we do want to thank the really good guide Juan Carlos, who everybody said was exceptional. Please pass on all of our thanks to all concerned at every level for making this trip so spectacular.
- BM, Sussex