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The Best of Ecuador and Peru

27 days from £7400 per person

A once in a lifetime journey through two of South America's most fascinating countries, this itinerary explores the very best of Ecuador and Peru. Arriving in the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage city of Quito, explore Cotacachi, Cotopaxi, Riobamba and Cuenca in Ecuador before continuing onto the Peruvian capital Lima. Spend two days here, see the enigmatic Nazca Lines then visit Arequipa, Colca, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and the world famous ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu. End your journey exploring the flora and fauna of Peruvian Amazon at the wonderful Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica – a fitting end to a memorable holiday.

Route: Quito – Cotacachi – Cotopaxi – Riobamba – Cuenca – Guayaquil – Lima – Arequipa – Colca – Puno – Cusco – Aguas Calientes – Cusco – Reserva Amazonica – Lima

Itinerary Highlights

Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and cultural gem, built on the ruins of an Inca city. It’s peppered with picturesque plazas and plenty of local charm.

Visit Machu Picchu, Peru’s most famous Inca citadel, a symbol of beauty, wonder and intrigue and for many an experience of a lifetime.

Deep in Peru’s tropical Amazon region, Reserva Amazonica is perfectly placed to experience the jungle and learn about the unique plants and exotic animals that inhabit it.

Itinerary: The Best of Ecuador and Peru

Depart the UK on the Iberia flight to Quito via Madrid. Capital of Ecuador, Quito is one of South America’s hidden gems. With an elegant UNESCO protected colonial centre, the original heart of the city is an eye-catching combination of graceful pastel-coloured homes, narrow cobbled streets, imposing squares and opulent churches including the city’s 450 year old cathedral. (N)
Accommodation in Quito: Patio Andaluz Hotel (or similar)
Today tour Quito with your guide. Starting at the Plaza de la Independencia visit the Cathedral of Quito then walk to the Jesuit church of La Compania with its awe-inspiring gold-leaf interior and fine collection of colonial art. From here head to the Plaza de San Francisco to visit the Church and Convent of St Francis – the city’s oldest and largest colonial church – then explore narrow cobbled streets around Calle Morales. End the day atop Panecillo Hill, marvel at the statue of Quito’s ‘winged Virgin’ and enjoy the spectacular views over the city below. (B)
Accommodation in Quito: Patio Andaluz Hotel (or similar)
This morning leave Quito and drive north to Cotacachi – a dramatic journey through spectacular mountain landscapes, tiny rural villages, traditional white-washed churches and sparkling lakes. Cotacachi and the regions surrounding the town are home to a large indigenous population, excellent arts and crafts and have maintained vibrant, age-old customs and traditions. (B)
Accommodation in Cotacach: La Mirage Hotel & Spa (or similar)
Today explore Cotacachi and the neighbouring local market towns and villages which are noted for their traditional handicrafts. Cotacachi is set within beautiful rural countryside and there are also numerous lakes and waterfalls to explore. (B)
Accommodation in Cotacach: La Mirage Hotel & Spa (or similar)
This morning visit the colourful market town of Otavalo, one of the most famous in the region and a centre of regional trade since pre-Incan times. If possible your visit to Otavalo should coincide with a Saturday to allow you to attend the incredible market which is famous throughout the continent for textiles and craft items. Leaving Otavalo return south passing Quito and travelling through the sensational ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ to Cotopaxi – which stands at an altitude of 2,930 metres. (B)
Accommodation in Cotopaxi: Hacienda San Agustin de Callo (or similar)
After breakfast drive through stunning scenery to Banos, a small market town situated in a beautiful valley known for its waterfalls and hot springs. After lunch continue to Riobamba which at 2,750 metres has wonderful views of five volcanic peaks – Chimborazo, Altar, Tungurahua, Carihuairazo and, on a clear day, Sangay. (B)
Accommodation in Riobamba: Albergue Abraspungu (or similar)
Today, if possible, join the train for the spectacular ride to Alausí before continuing via the Devil’s Nose to Huigra. Later continue by car to the country’s most renowned Inca site at Ingapirca and end the day at Cuenca. (B)
Accommodation in Cuenca: Mansion Alcazar (or similar)
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Cuenca, one of Ecuador’s most beautiful Spanish colonial cities and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cuenca is also an important handicrafts centre and is famous for its ikat shawls, traditional Ecuadorian textiles, Panama hats, ceramics and jewellery. In the afternoon explore the cobbled streets, charming plazas and pretty churches of the old city at your own pace. (B)
Accommodation in Cuenca: Mansion Alcazar (or similar)
Today leave Cuenca and drive north-west to Guayaquil – Ecuador’s largest city and also the country’s commercial and economic hub. (B)
Accommodation in Guayaquil: Hilton Colon Hotel (or similar)
This morning you will be met and transferred to Guayaquil Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Lima. (B)
Accommodation in Lima: Novotel Lima (or similar)
Today explore the city with your guide. Places of interest include the Plaza Mayor – the original site on which Lima was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 – as well as the historic cathedral, grand Presidential Palace and Church of San Francisco with its collection of fine frescoes. The fascinating Archaeological Museum, depicting the progression of Peru’s various early civilizations from the Chavin in 1,000 BC to the Incas, is also well worth visiting and an excellent introduction to the country’s history. End the day with a drive along the Lima’s Pacific coast through the enchanting neighbourhoods of San Isidro, Miraflores and Larco Mar. (B)
Accommodation in Lima: Novotel Lima (or similar)
Early this morning you will be taken to Lima Airport to take a memorable light aircraft flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines and on your return to Lima connect on to Arequipa. Arequipa is set in a beautiful valley in the shadow of the snow-capped El Misti volcano. (B)
Accommodation in Arequipa: Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast explore Arequipa with your guide. Visit the Santa Catalina convent – a miniature walled town within the centre of the city – and the surrounding maze of cobbled streets, flower filled plazas and brightly painted houses. The Jesuit Church of La Compania and the town’s museum with its displays of frozen Inca mummies found on Mount Ampato are also fascinating. (B)
Accommodation in Arequipa: Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa Hotel (or similar)
This morning set off with your guide on a scenic drive to Colca. A winding road leaves the city and crosses the slopes of the Misti, Chachani and Ampato volcanoes to arrive at Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest canyon. (B)
Accommodation in Colca: Colca Lodge (or similar)
Early this morning visit Condor Cross, a location where you will hopefully have an opportunity to observe these magnificent birds gliding over the canyon and around the mountain peaks. The remainder of your day will be at leisure to enjoy Colca, your hotel and the surrounding landscape. (B)
Accommodation in Colca: Colca Lodge (or similar)
Leaving Colca, drive through spectacular Andean countryside to Puno stopping en-route at the mysterious pre-Inca burial towers of Sillustani. After visiting Sillustani continue by on by road to Puno, the gateway to Lake Titicaca. (B)
Accommodation in Puno: Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel (or similar)
By motorboat today the azure waters of Lake Titicaca which at 3,820 metres is the highest navigable lake in the world. Visit the floating ‘islands’ of the Uros Indians whose homes, boats and island foundations are built from the tortura reeds found in abundance on the lake. Later cruise to the island of Taquile where the islanders are famed for their traditional colourful dress of elegant waistcoats, floppy knit caps, layered skirts and embroidered blouses. (B)
Accommodation in Puno: Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel (or similar)
This morning leave Puno and board the train for the spectacular ten hour journey over the high plateau of the altiplano to Cusco. Reaching altitudes of over 4,300 metres travel past scattered villages, herds of llamas and vicunas. Alternatively travel by car from Puno which will allow you to stop on the way at the superb Inca ruins of Raqchi as well as the village of Andahuaylillas to visit the beautifully decorated 17th century church. (B)
Accommodation in Cusco: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco Hotel (or similar)
Morning at leisure. In the afternoon enjoy a walking tour of Cusco to absorb its wonderful atmosphere and enjoy some of the finest colonial architecture in South America. Also visit some of the Inca sites that are situated in the hills surrounding Cusco such as Sacsayhuaman, Puka Pukara, Quego and Tambo Machay. At Sacsayhuaman you will see the remains of an Inca ceremonial centre – its massive interlocking stones are magnificent, as are the views over the terracotta roofs of the city below. (B)
Accommodation in Cusco: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco Hotel (or similar)
Today visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas to see the colourful and traditional market of Pisac and the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo. Enjoy lunch at Huayocari Hacienda a private residence overlooking the mountains, offering one of the finest views of the valley below. After lunch continue on to Ollantaytambo. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge fortress was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and barracks. (B)
Accommodation in Cusco: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco Hotel (or similar)
This morning transfer to the railway station and board a train bound for the legendary ‘Lost City’ of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Upon your arrival at Aguas Calientes a twenty-five minute bus ride will bring you to the ruins of this famous Inca city. With its breathtaking location Machu Picchu is the foremost archaeological site on the continent and the highlight of a visit to Peru. Unknown to the outside world until the 20th century, explore this UNESCO protected citadel with your guide then transfer to your accommodation. (B/L)
Accommodation in Aguas Calientes: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (or similar)
Rise early this morning to witness the sunrise over Machu Picchu. Later explore this magnificent citadel on your own or take a hike with your guide, perhaps to the famous Sun Gate for excellent views of the ruins or up Huayna Picchu for a unique panorama of the entire city. In the early afternoon return by train to Cusco.
Accommodation in Cusco: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco Hotel (or similar)
This morning transfer to Cusco Airport and fly to Puerto Maldonado. On arrival board a boat and travel along the Madre de Dios River to the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge where you will stay for the next three nights. Set on a 40,000 acre private nature reserve, this luxurious eco-lodge lies deep in the heart of Peru’s Amazon rainforest adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Reserva Amazonica: Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge (or similar)
Over the next two days explore the Reserva Amazonica and Tambopata National Reserve with a naturalist. This region is one of the most biologically diverse in the world and there is also a canopy walkway and butterfly house. The reserves are home to over 100 species of mammal including howler, capuchin and squirrel monkeys, otter, sloth and elusive jaguar. Birdlife is rich and varied with colourful toucans and macaws common and close to 1,000 different species of butterfly have been recorded. There will also be a chance to spot piranha, turtle and caiman. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Reserva Amazonica: Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge (or similar)
Today return by boat to Puerto Maldonado and return by air to Lima. On arrival in Lima connect onto the evening overnight Iberia flight non-stop to Madrid. (B)
Arrive into Madrid in the afternoon and connect onto the onward Iberia flight to the UK. (N)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Peru and the Galapagos Islands Holiday Review

“First and foremost it was a simply stunning time – we really enjoyed every aspect of it” – “You put together for us a most wonderful trip, and you plugged away with the Peruvian agents getting just the trip we wanted”

P & ST - Peru and the Galapagos Islands - September 2015

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For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

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