Working with our travel partner, Collette, Reader’s Digest invites you to join an extraordinary 11–day tour of Peru. Steeped in cultures and traditions forged over 10,000 years of history, the third largest South American country offers travellers a remarkable and unparalleled experience

Peru is the oldest civilisation in South America and an incredibly diverse country which is home to one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu, the ‘Lost City of the Incas’. The country’s surface area covers more than the territories of Spain and France combined, and its own territory borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Peru possesses incredible natural sights, from the grandiose peaks of the Andes to the rich biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon. Over many years its multi–cultured people have created great historical and cultural wealth through their cuisine, traditions, art, music, folklore, and of course football, the country’s national sport.

“Peru’s incredible range of diverse landscapes was formed by the country’s distinctive geographical conditions, and holds a perennial fascination for explorers with a keen sense of adventure”

Peru’s incredible range of diverse landscapes was formed by the country’s distinctive geographical conditions, and holds a perennial fascination for explorers with a keen sense of adventure. Stretching along the entire Western coast of South America, the magnificent mountain range of the Andes is the longest in the world and spans not just Peru, but also Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The Incas established themselves in the Peruvian Andes in the 15th century, but died out as a result of civil wars and diseases brought over by European invaders, to which they had no immunity. The cities of Huaraz, where the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca range form its magnificent eastern skyline, and Cuzco, once capital of the Inca Empire, are found along the Andes.


Lima is the second largest desert capital after Cairo in Egypt.

The city was founded on the land of a native chief, Taulichusco.

Lima was called La Ciudad de los Reyes, which translates as ‘The City of Kings’.

Located in the central coastal part of Peru on a desert strip between the Pacific Ocean and Andes Mountains, Lima is the capital and the largest city of the country. Home to a population of more than 10 million, the city is a fascinating mix of the modern and the old, where high-rise condos sit alongside pre-Columbian temples, overlooking the Pacific Ocean as its breakers roll in. The influence of three centuries under Spanish rule can still be seen in Lima’s exquisite churches, cloisters and monasteries. Peru is known as one of the world’s top food travel destination, and in Lima the abundance of incredible local produce, sourced from the surrounding sea, Amazon, and the mountains, is utilised to delectable effect in the superb Peruvian cuisine.

“Peruvian art has its roots in ancient Andean civilisations, who worked with gold, silver and ceramics to create relief carvings and sculptural works”

Peru is also well-known for its spectacularly colourful textiles, and centuries old methods of spinning, weaving, and dying are still practised and taught by Peruvian artisan textile makers. Peruvian art has its roots in ancient Andean civilisations, who worked with gold, silver and ceramics to create relief carvings and sculptural works. These ancient artistic Peruvian creations and techniques are used to this day as the inspiration for modern works of art.


Machu Picchu means “old mountain” in the Quechua language.

Machu Picchu’s sacred Intihuatana stone accurately indicates the two equinoxes; when the sun sits directly over the stone twice a year, it creates no shadow.

The citadel survived the devastation of the Spanish conquest because it was hidden from view and invisible to the marauders below.

The influence of the Inca Empire runs through the Sacred Valley, a 60km long region in Peru’s Andean highlands. The Sacred Valley originally formed the beating heart of the Empire, along with the old imperial capital of Cuzco and the mysterious citadel of Machu Picchu. The Spanish colonial villages of Pisac, with its hilltop Incan citadel, and the spectacular ruins of Ollantaytambo, the only Incan settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception, are a must for exploration. Here, where the fertile river valley meanders below forests and ancient agricultural terraces, many of the local people still speak Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas, as well as growing corn, breeding alpacas, and weaving beautiful textiles from their wool, just as their ancient forbears did.

“a rich variety of wildlife including the spectacled bear and the Andean condor and jaguar”

The 550–year–old Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, an intriguing complex of palaces, plazas, temples and houses, is surely one of the most iconic sights in the world, drawing visitors from all over the globe to wonder at its spectacular beauty and mystery. Built by the most advance pre-Columbian civilisation, the site eventually fell to ruin, until it was rediscovered in 1911 by Yale University professor Hiram Bingham. Theories on why it was built are still debated, and include whether it was constructed as a ceremonial site, as a royal retreat, or as a military stronghold. Set between two forested Andean mountains (populated by a rich variety of wildlife including the spectacled bear and the Andean condor and jaguar), the site is still recognisable as a city once at the peak of its power and success, where the ancient urban Inca Empire walked, worshipped, worked, ate, danced and lived. The location is breathtaking–and at 2430 metres above sea level it certainly would be. Located on the highest part of the eastern Andes, its size also takes you by surprise; together with the surrounding subtropical forests and wilderness park, Machu Picchu sprawls over an area of 116 square miles.


Cuzco was founded by Manco Capac around 1200 AD.

‘Ama Sua, Ama Quella, Ama Lulla’ translated as ‘Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be lazy’, was a commonly–used greeting in the ancient Inca city and the cornerstone of Inca law.

Cuzco experienced a significant earthquake in May 1950, which damaged all the churches and almost 90% of its dwellings.

Cosmopolitan Inca capital, Cuzco (also Cusco, or Qosq’o in Quechua) is rich in ancient heritage and was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and today, the city thrives as a major tourist destination, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year.  The foremost city of the Inca Empire is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, as well as the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Few travelers to Peru will skip visiting this premier South American destination which is also the gateway to Machu Picchu.

“Oxygen is precious when you’re that far above sea level, and its lack gives new meaning to the word breathtaking”

The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets you can see the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst.

The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro’s men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca.

Nowadays, Cuzco is known for its indigenous population–often seen on the streets in traditional clothing hawking their wares as well as its substantial tourist-fueled night life.

It’s worth noting that at 3,400 m above sea level, you may experience altitude sickness and breathlessness. Oxygen is precious when you’re that far above sea level, and its lack gives new meaning to the word breathtaking, which you’ll frequently find yourself using to describe the city. One thing the locals use to combat altitude sickness is the coca leaf, from a plant endemic to South America. It’s a controlled substance in some countries, but has been used for centuries by Andean peoples for medicinal and nutritive purposes. It is commonly steeped to make tea or chewed in a wad like tobacco and you can pick it up pretty much anywhere in Cuzco.

Cuzco can be very hot during the day and quite cold in the early morning and late at night so make sure you pack a hat and sun lotion as well as layers for the night. It’s also a pretty dusty city so you may want to wear boots or trainers rather than flip flops.


Day 1 - 3

Day 1

Welcome to Peru, one of the jewels of South America. Travel through this captivating land visiting some of the world’s most legendary sites, including the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, Machu Picchu. Arrive in Lima, also known as the ‘City of Kings.’

Day 2

Discover Lima’s fascinating history during a tour through the historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the artwork at San Francisco Monastery and enter the catacombs. View the Government Center, the elegant Cathedral at Plaza de Armas, an abundance of colonial architecture, and the fashionable suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores for insight into the daily life of the Limeños. Then it’s on to your exclusive visit in the Archbishop’s Palace to witness the changing of the guard. This evening, get to know your fellow travellers during a welcome dinner featuring Peruvian dishes and drinks; you will quickly discover why Peru has been named the world’s top food travel destination four years in a row.

Day 3

Fly to Cuzco, in the heart of the Inca civilization. Journey through the Andes to the majestic Sacred Valley of the Incas, the agricultural centre of their grand empire. Learn the centuries-old methods of spinning, dyeing and weaving traditional textiles during a visit to Awana Kancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes. After a short lesson on the local language, stop in Pisac village to browse the colourful handicraft market. Settle in this evening at your hotel nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley. The rest of the evening is yours…perhaps you’ll take this opportunity to discover your hotel’s planetarium to gaze at the stars.


Day 4

This morning, visit the spectacular Ollantaytambo ruins, the only Incan settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception. A uniquely terraced complex topped with carved stone panels, these ruins reflect ancient Incan architecture and heritage. Then, head to the Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio where you’ll get first-hand knowledge of this internationally renowned artist’s techniques and designs, inspired by ancient Peruvian cultures. Experience the lifestyle of the modern Andean people and delve into their culture when you travel to a nearby Quechua community and interact with the locals. You’ll get a true taste of their daily life when participating in small group workshops that teach you traditional methods of growing, harvesting and weaving. Celebrate their culture as you learn their dances and listen to their musical instruments before enjoying a home-hosted farm-to-table lunch featuring local specialties. Tonight, savour an authentic Pachamanca dinner, a unique process where food is placed on hot stones and buried in the ground to cook.

Day 5

Climb aboard the Machu Picchu Vistadome train for breathtaking views through domed windows as you ride through the Andes to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungle, Machu Picchu is considered the most spectacular sight in South America. Spend the afternoon with your guide uncovering the mysteries of these majestic ruins. Tonight, stay at the base of Machu Picchu for a chance to further soak up its atmosphere. Enjoy an exclusive culinary demonstration before enjoying an award-winning tasting menu at your resort.

Day 6

With leisure time this morning you may take an optional tour to return to Machu Picchu and view the sunrise or explore the local markets in Aguas Calientes on your own. Return by Vistadome train to the Sacred Valley. Visit the Sacred Valley Brewing Company, a nonprofit brewery created to support a local orphanage. Taste these Andean-inspired craft beers and learn about their drive to support their community before continuing to Cuzco, a city that blends Inca and Spanish colonial influences

Day 7 & 8

Day 7

The morning is yours to relax and acclimate to the altitude. Then it’s your choice! Follow a local guide on a walking tour of the city from your hotel or choose to board your coach for a comprehensive tour of the city’s main sites. Both tours will take you on a journey through this former capital of the Incan Empire to experience the architectural legacy visible in the Cathedral, Santo Domingo and Plaza de Armas, and the central market. Later, gather together and travel above the city to discover the important sacred Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Enjoy a toast at sunset Whilst overlooking the city before returning to the heart of Cuzco where you are treated to an authentic dinner highlighting local flavours.

Day 8

This morning, fly to Puno, hugging the shores of Lake Titicaca. Known as the birthplace of the Inca Empire, ancient legends say that life began here. Have time to meet the locals and discover the history of this region as you explore the village centre before checking into your lakeside hotel. Tonight, enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 9

Enjoy a morning cruise to the floating islands of the Uros people of Lake Titicaca. Experience walking on the spongy surface of compacted tortora reeds and meet the locals. Later, tuck into an authentic home-hosted lunch. Then visit the mystical Chullpas de Sillustani and visit a local home.

Day 10 & 11

Day 10

Spend the morning relaxing on the shores of Lake Titicaca before flying to Lima. Head to the Larco Museum, built on the site of a pre-Columbian temple, which houses a collection of precious artefacts spanning 3000 years. Your tour concludes with a sumptuous farewell dinner in the museum’s grounds. (Breakfast & Dinner included.)

Day 11

It’s time to head home as your incredible tour comes to a close.


Reader’s Digest only recommends the very best tours, which is why we are working with Collette – boasting a century of travel experience and strong family ownership, Collette focusses on helping you get the very best curated experience when you travel.

If you want to find out more about the PERU TOUR then you can request a no-obligation quote below or call 0800 804 8373 to speak to a travel adviser.

If you can’t wait to get your tour booked then click on ‘BUILD YOUR TOUR’ to go straight through to the Collette site and plan the adventure of a lifetime.