• Sunset over Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa in Peru

Highlands & Caribbean Tour

Fancy a twin-centre holiday in South America? This Highlands & Caribbean tour is a 14-day trip that allows you to discover the highlights of Peru and Colombia, from the cities and cultural sights to the beaches. Your tour includes stops in the capital cities of Lima and Bogota, where you can absorb the history, vibrant culture and, of course, the delicious coffee.

Peruvian culture provides a seamless blend of modern skyscrapers, ancient ruins and tribal rituals. During your tour, you’ll have the chance to marvel at the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. With the snow-capped Andes as a backdrop, this world-famous Inca archaeological site has stunning mountain vistas at every turn. Taking a boat trip on Lake Titicaca is another tour highlight. Here you’ll learn about the Uros tribe’s fascinating lifestyle. Living on islands made from reeds, the Uros tribe still follow the customs and traditions from their ancestors. And, don’t miss a chance to sample the delicious Peruvian cuisine, which has gained global notoriety in recent years.

In Colombia, after discovering the fascinating capital city of Bogotá, you’ll get a chance to relax and laze on the country’s beautiful Caribbean beaches while sipping its world-famous coffee. Colombia and Peru offer a kaleidoscope of wonderful and unforgettable memories. One thing’s for sure, the Highlands & Caribbean tour truly is your journey of discovery into Peruvian and Colombian life.

Duration
14 days

Guide Price

 £5,999  pp
Best time to go
May to October
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
a large waterfall over some water with Iguazu Falls in the background

Trip highlights

  • Visit the Lost City of Machu Picchu, South America’s most famous archaeological site
  • Enjoy a cruise on Lake Titicaca, stopping to visit Taquile Island and the Uros Islands
  • Taste the fresh Colombian coffee in the foodie hotspot of Usaquen, and learn about its production from bean to cup
  • Discover Colombia’s capital with a fascinating sightseeing tour of Bogota

Upon arrival at Lima airport, a transfer will take you to your hotel. The rest of the day remains free for you to enjoy at your own leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel La Hacienda Miraflores 3-4* or similar
Santo Domingo Monastry in Lima, Peru

Today, you will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Peru’s capital city, Lima. Your tour begins in Lima’s historic centre, where you’ll learn about Lima’s colonial past by visiting its important landmarks and buildings. First stop is the Plaza de Armas, where Francsico Pizarro is considered to have founded the city in 1535. Surrounding the Plaza, there are other interesting buildings, including the Cathedral de Lima, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Municipal Palace (Lima’s town hall). Before leaving the historic centre, you will visit the exquisite baroque San Francisco Monastery. While it’s hard to miss with its canary yellow facade, the true treasure lies within the monastery’s walls. Housing the largest collection of religious art in America, make sure you delve into its underground vaults. The monastery’s library boasts giant ancient tomes that have a medieval ambience to them.

After marvelling at the cultural delights of the historic centre, your next stop is in the modern districts of San Isidro and Micraflores. En route, you can take in the dramatic vistas of Lima’s beaches and the Pacific Ocean.

Your sightseeing tour today ends at one of Lima’s most notable attractions, Larco Museum. Here, you can explore fascinating artifacts that cover more than 5,000 years of ancient Peruvian history.

In the afternoon, you have the option to visit a waterpark, which includes a music show and dinner in the evening. This is one of the biggest waterparks in Lima and you can witness all the different water fountains. You will dine in style as you tuck into delicious Peruvian cuisine at a restaurant in Barranco, while traditional folk dancers put on a spectacular show.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel La Hacienda Miraflores 3-4* or similar
Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru

This morning, we will drive you to the airport to board a flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, you will be driven to the small Andean village of Chinchero where you can learn about the Chinchero community and its traditional way of life. Visit the Inca Tupac Yupanqui’s royal hacienda and the beautiful colonial temples. Chinchero is known for its lively and colourful Sunday morning market. Originally, the market was for the locals to barter and trade goods. Nowadays, piles of artisanal handicrafts and colourful textiles make perfect Peruvian souvenirs for its global visitors.

Afterwards, you’ll be driven to El Mirador de Racchi, where you can enjoy the spectacular panoramic views over the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay 3-4* or similar
attraction in Ollantaytambo

Today, you will discover the ancient village of Ollantaytambo. Considered one of the finest surviving examples of an Inca settlement, Ollantaytambo is a must-visit if you enjoy delving into history. Climb the stone stairway to reach the fortress, which sits on top of a hill. Overlooking the terraced fortifications that cling to the valley’s sides below, the views from the fortress are sensational. Feast on a traditional lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you have a choice of activities that you can book. You might want to learn more about Peru’s ancient civilisation with a visit to Moray and Maras. These two small towns offer a wonderful insight into the Incas’ way of life. Starting in Moray, you visit fascinating concentric ruins that form a very similar shape to a Roman amphitheatre. The purpose of Moray’s circular stone platforms is still widely debated. Then you’ll head to Moras, where the salt mines are a spectacle to behold. There are over 3,000 salt ponds here and you can stand in awe at the ingenuity of the Incas and their expert knowledge of their local environment.

Alternatively, you can enjoy a relaxing hike to Yucay. Walk beside the old Incan irrigation channel that was once used for agriculture, pass through cultivated fields and terraces that date back to Inca times, before visiting the village of Yucay.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay 3-4* or similar
a blue and yellow train traveling down train tracks near a forest

After breakfast, you will be driven to Ollantaytambo, where you will board a train to Aguas Calientes. Your train journey passes through the beautiful fertile plains of the Urubamba Valley. Upon arrival, a small bus will drive you up the mountain to the ruins of Machu Picchu. Here, you will enjoy a two-hour guided tour of the most famous archaeological site in South America.

Escaping Spanish invasion in the 16th century, this impressive stone citadel is often called the Lost City of the Incas. In fact, it remained undiscovered until the early part of the 20th century. Historians believe Machu Picchu was the safe house and home of Inca aristocracy. You will marvel at the ingenuity of the stone structures that were built without tools, machinery or even mortar. The interlocking stones were carved so precisely that they have withstood the test of time. In fact, they sit so closely together that not even a credit card can be slotted between them.

After ticking Machu Picchu off your bucket list, you will travel back to Ollantaytambo train station. Here, a transfer will take you to your hotel in Cusco.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Xima Cusco 3-4* or similar
a large building with a mountain in the background

This morning, you will enjoy a half-day tour of Cusco, a city that used to be the capital of the Inca Empire. Cusco is considered to be Peru’s oldest existing inhabited city and South America’s archaeological capital.

Explore the Plaza de Armas, and discover the cathedral that was built on the ruins of an ancient Inca Palace. Wander through the old town and marvel at the beautifully restored colonial buildings. The tour ends on a high, when you visit the ancient ruins of Sacsayhuaman, which lies almost 2 miles above Cusco. Here, the views over the city and the surrounding ruins are phenomenal.

After taking in the ancient treasures of Cusco, your afternoon is free to enjoy at your own leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Xima Cusco 3-4* or similar
a group of people standing in front of a church

Today, you will travel from Cusco to Puno by bus. As you pass through pretty villages, you will find the dramatic views of the Andes’ snow-capped peaks and the picturesque Peruvian highlands simply spell-bounding. En route, you will stop to visit Andahuaylillas, the archaeological complex of Raqchi, and the small town of Pucara. For lunch, you can look forward to sampling delicious Peruvian fare at a local restaurant. On arrival in Puno, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Xima Puno 3* or similar
Lake Titicaca

After breakfast, head to Puno’s docks where you will board a boat to see the enthralling Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca. As the largest lake in South America, Lake Titicaca is home to 70 small floating islands.The Uros Islands are man-made from the lake’s totora (reeds) and attract visitors from all over the world. The small tribe that live here still maintain age-old customs from their ancestors. Understanding the Uros tribe’s fascinating way of life is an unforgettable experience.

Your next excursion of the day takes you to the quaint and unspoilt Taquile Island. Without roads or electricity, Taquile Island has managed to remain true to its origins. Locals are often seen in traditional dress and the main square hold just two places: a church and a small shop selling local products. Taquilenos are known for their high-quality hand-woven and knitted handicrafts - a perfect keepsake to remember your trip. After a delicious lunch on the island, you day’s interesting excursions on Lake Titicaca come to an end. Back at your hotel, you will be taken to the airport in Juliaca, where you will board your flight to Lima. Landing in Lima, a transfer will take you to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel La Hacienda Miraflores 3-4* or similar

After breakfast, a transfer will drive you to the airport to catch a flight to Bogota in Colombia. Arriving in Bogota, you will then be driven you to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel B3 Virrey 3* or similar
a large body of water with a city in the background

Explore Bogotá, Colombia’s vibrant capital, with a fascinating city tour. In the morning, you’ll visit the heart of the city, La Candelaria. Here, you can admire the historic downtown’s well-preserved colonial buildings and cobbled streets. There’s also a plethora of restaurants, museums, bars and hotels to enjoy. Highlights of the tour include visiting the largest collection of gold artefacts in the world at the Museum of Gold and discovering the distinctive works of art at the Fernando Botero Museum.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel B3 Virrey 3* or similar
Colombia Coffee Region

Today, you will enjoy exploring the traditional neighbourhood of Usaquén in Bogotá. No trip to Colombia is complete without tasting its most famous export - coffee. During the morning’s walking tour, you can immerse yourself in the delightful world of Colombian coffee. You’ll learn about its production, particular attributes, and - of course - enjoy a fresh cup of coffee yourself. Trust us, if we could, we’d head to Usaquen every day for this delicious brew. 

Your afternoon’s excursion is to Colombia’s famous underground cathedral. Built within the tunnels of a salt mine, The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a sight to behold. Zipaquira is a historic town famous for its salt mines. So, who better to build a cathedral completely out of salt than the people of Zipaquira? Interconnected by a labyrinth of tunnels, the cathedral comes complete with salt carved monumental crosses, angels and Madonna statues. After a day of coffee and cathedrals, a transfer will drive you back to your hotel.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel B3 Virrey 3* or similar
a group of people walking in front of a statue

After breakfast, you will be driven to the airport to board a flight to Cartagena. Landing in Cartagena, you will be met and taken to your hotel. After check-in, you can spend the day exploring the wonders of this historic city. 

Cartagena de Indias lies in the north of Colombia on the Caribbean coastline. It has been an important port since it was founded in 1533. The best way to see the city is to simply walk around admiring its brightly-coloured buildings, winding alleyways, bougainvilla-adorned balconies and main squares.  

During the city tour, you’ll wander the cobbled streets of Cartagena’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the fortress of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas on the Hill of San Lazaro. Your tour of Cartagena ends with an interesting visit to the 17th century convent - San Pedro Claver. Named after a Spanish monk who lived at the convent, Pedro Claver dedicated his life to the enslaved people that had been bought to Colombia from Africa and ministering to them.

 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Don Pedro de Heredia 3* or similar

Today is free for you to enjoy visiting Cartagena at your own leisure - you can explore the city further or simply relax and unwind on a beautiful beach.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Don Pedro de Heredia 3* or similar

You will be picked up from your hotel, and taken to the airport to catch your onward flight.

Included

  • International flights
  • Board basis is Breakfast
  • Cost of accommodation (standard double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 13 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • Private/small group (air-conditioned) transport / transfers
  • Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
  • English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for monuments and palaces and entertainment, and park fees for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary

Not included

  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
  • Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
  • Gratuities for drivers, tour directors, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
  • Meals (unless specified)
  • Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)