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A journey to mysterious Machu Picchu

Shrouded in mystery and tucked away in a tropical mountain forest, Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most incredible sights, and was almost forgotten, a lost relic of the Incas, until the 20th century.

Even today it holds its secrets, and experts are still unsure what the 150 buildings, three temples and 3,000 stone steps were built for. Discover this mysterious ancient site for yourself on one of our exciting tours of Peru.

 

Board a narrow-gauge train

Board a narrow-gauge train

Boarding the narrow-gauge PeruRail Vistadome train you journey along the Sacred Valley. As the valley narrows the train goes deep into the jungle, and you follow the fast-flowing Urubamba River.

On your Vistadome train the large panoramic windows ensure you don’t miss the incredible scenery along the way to this sacred site.

You can even enjoy a snack made from local ingredients and traditional entertainment during your journey, such a show of the typical Andean Saqcra dance from Paucartambo.

Spotting llama and alpaca

Spotting llama and alpaca

During your visit to Machu Picchu you will see the many llamas and alpacas which thrive in this high altitude environment. These endearing and comical-looking creatures are used for carrying heavy loads and also for their incredible soft wool.

Llamas have long banana-shaped ears, while alpacas have shorter spear-shaped ears and are smaller than Llamas. They both roam freely about Machu Picchu eating the grass, so you will get some great photo opportunities, but remember not to feed them.

Delicious Peruvian cuisine

Delicious Peruvian cuisine

Andean cuisine is made up of hearty comfort food – meaty stews and soups slow cooked in a traditional earthen pot over a wood fire. The Peruvian highlands offer an abundance of nutritious ingredients, and meats, tubers, herbs and grains are the staples.

Pachamanca is a traditional dish of marinated beef, lamb, pork or guinea pig meat cooked with fava beans, potatoes and steamed corn cakes called humitas. You may also come across ceviche, raw fresh fish cured in citrus juices such as lemon and lime and spiced with chilli pepper.

 

How can you experience all this?

For something more active, see our Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands tour

For something more active, see our Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands Tour

Flight time

From London to Lima takes approximately 13 hours.

Currency

Sol - The local currency in Peru is the sol – a modern relic of the sun worship of the ancient Incas. This is divided into 100 centimos. It is almost impossible to exchange Peruvian currency in the UK, so try to spend all your sols before leaving – perhaps treat yourself to some Peruvian souvenirs such as an alpaca wool jumper, silver jewellery or some of the intricate woven fabrics the country is famous for.

Passports and visas

British nationals don’t need a visa to travel to Peru. On arrival, you are normally given permission to stay for up to six months.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. It’s a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport showing your passport number and photograph. Bring this with you on holiday, but keep it in a different place form your passport just in case it gets lost.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Phrases

Spanish is the official language in Peru. Here are some basics to get you started…
Yes – Si
No – No
Hello – Hola
Goodbye – Adiós
Good Morning – Buenos Dias
Good Evening – Buenas Tardes
Good Night – Buenas Noches


Timezone

Peru is five hours behind GMT.

Electricity

Most mains sockets in Peru take plugs with two thin round prongs, so British appliances will require an adaptor. The voltage is 220 volts, 60 Hz. In the Amazon, the electricity supply can be unreliable and sudden power cuts may occur. As such, it’s a good idea to bring a torch.

Language

Spanish; Castilian - The official language in Peru is Spanish. Quechua and Aymara are still widely spoken in some areas, and tribes in the Amazon Basin use many different dialects.

Tipping

The majority of restaurant and bar bills in Peru already include a 10% gratuity. However, if the service has been particularly good, you may like to add an extra 10% on top. Taxis do not accept tips and fares are negotiated prior to pick up.

Climate

The weather in Peru varies significantly. There can be snow in the mountains and beautiful hot sunshine on the coast. The coast itself also experiences great differences in temperature from north to south.

Coastal winters occur between June and September when the weather is overcast, but rarely cold. Rain is rare on the coast, except in the tropical climes of Tumbes and Piura. The Andes have heavy rainfall in September, which then peaks any time between January and March. Rain in the jungle is heaviest between December and April.

Due to the scope of Peru’s climate, you’d be wise to pack for all seasons – and don’t forget some good walking shoes and a waterproof jacket!

Health

Tap water is not generally safe to drink, so please stick to bottled mineral water. Flying insects, including mosquitoes, are a feature of this part of the world and you may find it helpful to wear long-sleeved tops and full-length trousers and to use mosquito repellents on exposed areas of skin.

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Peru’s population is 30,147,935, just under half that of the UK.

Peru spans 496,225 square miles, making it about five times the size of the UK. The landscape of this country is varied with the coast to the west, the rugged Andes in the centre and the jungle of the Amazon rainforest to the east, covering two-thirds of the entire country in rich biodiversity.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in all indoor public areas.