Saturday 1 until Saturday 13 March (t.b.c.)
Various top destinations in Peru
Top quality 4* hotels
Major airline (1 transfer), in Peru by bus, train & flights
On 11 July 1911, the buccaneering American Explorer Belmond Hiram Bingham discovered the ancient Inca city Machu Picchu. Nowadays this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts half a million visitors per year. This ancient city high up in the mountains is the highlight for many tourists on their trip to Peru. Expat Club organises a journey to this amazing South American country that covers many more highlights, including four other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. What to think about the lively former Inca Capital of Cusco at 3.400 meters, the historic city of Arequipa, the mysterious 2.000 year old Naza lines in the middle of the desert, and the Santo Domingo monastery in the Peruvian Capital of Lima. We will show you the country’s most amazing sights, while traveling in a safe and comfortable way with private transportation and a private local expert, and staying in outstanding 4* and 5* hotels.
This trip is not yet confirmed in terms of dates, program and time. We also cannot yet give you a price indication. Expat Club is keen on adding Peru to the list of destinations and travel there with a group of fun people who seriously would like to learn more about this incredible destination (max. 25-30 people). If you are interested, we would love to hear that. You can now pre-reserve a spot for free and without obligations. We will then inform you whenever we have more information available. If you are a member and logged in, simply click on the RSVP button. If you are not a member, you can register first and follow these stops, or simply submit your name and email address on this page. Membership is not required for any of our trips because we only offer this online option for those who want to connect more with others.
What is included in the trip fee?
This trip will be rather inclusive. We have a smartly designed and compact schedule that allows us to see as much as possible with enough rest points and without having the feeling that you have tor run. We just want to avoid unnecessarily losing time by planning things well beforehand, including lunches and dinners, so you won’t have to think what to do next. A worry-free trip that includes the following items:
- Flights with major European airline (1 stop)
- Airport transfers
- Domestic flights
- Private bus transportation
- Private guides
- All entrance fees
- Accommodation in various 4* hotels
- Breakfast buffet every morning
- Visit to Lima
- Visit to Ica
- Visit to Peruvian dessert
- Visit to Huacachina Oasis
- Visit to Pisco
- Flight over Nazca lines (optional)
- Visit to Areguipa
- Visit to Colca Canyon
- Visit to Puno
- Visit to Titicaca Lake
- Visit to floating island of Uru people
- Visit to Cusco
- Cooking class in Cusco
- Visit to Cusco Planetarium
- Guided bus tour Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Visit to Urumbamba
- Visit to Ollantaytambo
- Reserved train Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
- Visit to Aguas Calientes
- Visit to Machu Picchu
- Welcome dinner
- Farewell dinner
- Great group of international people
- Unique lifetime expat memory
What are the trip fees?
At this moment we cannot yet tell you the trip price or give a good indication. We can just say that we are making use of very good 4* and 5* hotels, private buses and guides, and that we include all entrance fees and several lunches and menus. We do so to ensure you will get the best possible experience and to really learn about this amazing country.
What is the maximum number of participants?
On this trip we accept maximum 25 to 30 participants.
Who can join this trip?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone feels comfortable. Therefore welcome everyone.
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
Be aware that it will be very difficult to impossible to visit several sights if you have difficulties with walking. In places like Machu Picchu there are many steps involved, so if you cannot climb up and down (in a calm to normal speed), this trip is not for you.
Families and children
Expat Club welcomes everyone, including families with children. However, due to the extended guided tours this trip is not meant for younger children. Contact us if you are interested so we can ensure you get the right rooms and a family/child discount. These discounts are valid on the early-bird and regular trip fees (no further discounts apply, including pre-reservation discounts).
As with all Expat Club trips we carefully think about the entire program to arrange a smooth trip for everyone. This includes location of the hotels, smartly chosen and pre-reserved entrance times, organised lunches and dinners, good domestic flights, bus- and train connections etc. Still, unforeseen things can happen that may influence our program, such as traffic and road blocks, unexpected closed destinations etc. We always do our best to come up with the best possible alternative in collaboration with local guides, bus drivers, hotels and welcoming restaurants and museums. The below program gives a good indication of what you can expect, but will surely still change until we can confirm it fully.
– Departure late morning Brussels
– Arrival late night Peru
Guided tour Lima:
– Old Historic City
– Santa Domingo Monastery
– Evening fountain show
Trip to Ica:
– Visit to Pisco
– Learn about national drink Pisco Sour
– Visit to Paracas and Isla Ballestas
– Visit to Huacachina Oasis
– Trip to Lima Airport
– Flight to Areguipa
– Evening program
– Program Areguipa
– Daytrip to Colca Canyon (condor watching)
– Stay in Chivay, high up in Andes
– Drive to Puno
– Visit Puno
– Visit Uro people with floating islands
– Flight to Cusco
– Afternoon program in Cusco
– Cusco Planetarium
– Bus tour through Sacred Valley
– Train to Aguas Calientes
– Morning visit to Machu Picchu
– Relax in Aguas Calientes (or stay in MP)
– Morning train back to Cusco
– Afternoon flight to Lima
Final day in Lima
Return flight to Brussels
Did you know there are only ten countries in the world that have four letters? Peru is one of them, although the official name is República del Perú. Located in South America on the Pacific, and home to 32 million people, its neighbours are Ecuador and Colombia in the North, Brasil and Bolivial in the East, and part of Bolivia and Chile in the South. IT is a whopping 42 times larger than Belgium, but much of it is uninhabitable though, because of its immense jungles, the high Andes mountains and the vast deserts. This ecological diversity alone makes the country great to visit.
Peru has a super rich history, spanning many millennia, and involving several ancient cultures such as the Norte Chico civilisation and the Inca empire. In the 16th century the Spanish Empire conquered many regions in South America and made Lima the capital under the established viceroyalty. Only in 1821-1824 the country gained its independence. The 20th century was one of internal conflicts and turmoil, but nowadays Peru is an emerging market with still a high level of poverty but relatively low in the wider region.
With over 10 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, Lima is by far the largest city in Peru and ranks number 4 in South America. The city is located right on the Pacific Ocean and forms the starting point for any traveller who wants to explore Peru. It’s a perfect place to do so with many tourist sites, great nightlife and exceptional food. Did you know that Lima ranks in the absolute world top when it comes to cuisine? Besides several top restaurants, you can find excellent food just about everywhere. Needless to say we are going to test this ourselves on our journey through the city and country.
Lima Historical Center Although severely damaged by earthquakes, this 'City of the Kings' was, until the middle of the 18th century, the capital and most important city of the Spanish dominions in South America. Many of its buildings, such as the Convent of San Francisco (the largest of its type in this part of the world), are the result of collaboration between local craftspeople and others from the Old World. (source: UNESCO website)
We stay several days in Lima, both at the beginning and end of our trip. There is much to see inside the city itself, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of its historical center with the cathedral, the Santo Domingo monastery and the San Francisco convent, but also the upscale Miralflores district and the authentic Barranco district with its beautiful architecture from the last two centuries.
Ica & Huacachina
Once we leave Lima, our first destination is Ica at about 300km from the capital. With almost 300.000 inhabitants it is still a sizeable city. It is located in the middle of the Peruvian dessert, but despite that it is the country’s most important wine region. Ica is also known for the high sand dunes, which makes sand-boarding and sand buggy driving a favourite local activity. Only a few kilometers away, in the middle of the desert, you can find the Huacachina lagoon, a small must-see natural oasis. From here we will also make a quick visit to Pisco, home of Peru’s famous and favourite drink, the Pisco Sour.
Astonishingly mysterious, that is just one way of describing the 2.500 to 1500 year old Naza Lines. The total length of the lines is 1300km, which is an amazing number considering that these lines and drawings are not made with a stick in the sand. Their depth namely range from 10cm to 15cm and their width from 1 to 6 foot (30cm to 180cm). Although most lines are really just lines, there are also many drawings of plants, animals or geometric shapes. The best way to see them is from a mountain top or from an airplane. And that is exactly what we’re going to do. We will rent a few airplanes for a once-in-a-lifetime flight over several of these lines and figures. This is probably the only UNESCO World Heritage Site that you must see from the sky, and it will literally be a highlight of our trip to Peru.
Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa Located in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, the geoglyphs of Nasca and the pampas of Jumana cover about 450 km2 . These lines, which were scratched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures several kilometres long. They are believed to have had ritual astronomical functions.
With just over 1 million inhabitants, and founded in the mid 16th century by the Spanish, Arequipa is often called Peru’s legal capital. Many tourists, like our Expat Club group, visit it first on their way to Puno and/or Cusco. Not just because it is beautiful and in the same part of the country, but also because its altitude of 2335m is a first serious step up to the higher situated Cusco (3399m) and Puno (3827m). Acclimatisation is very important, so what better way to do so in the beautiful history city of Arequipa that is also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although we may have some serious hikers in our group, we will not offer the climbing of one of the three volcanos that lie in the direct surroundings of the city. With peaks going over 6000m we would be asking for problems with altitude sickness.
Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic sillar rock, represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons. This combination of influences is illustrated by the city's robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades. (Source: UNESCO website)
Most of the 250 historic colonial buildings are centered around the main square, the Plaza de Armas, including the city’s Cathedral. Needless to say we will find a nice restaurant here to have dinner. Various churches, monasteries and museums complete a visit to Arequipa.
Travelling over an altitude of 4000m, our daytrip from Areguipa to the spectacular Colca Canyon will be our literal heigh point of the trip. This trip by bus will lead us along some spectacular mountain roads to the Cruz del Condor, a magnificent viewpoint from where we can see the world’s deepest canyon and also have a very good chance to witness the world’s largest bird in full flight, the mighty Andean Condor. With a wingspan of up to 3.3 meters and a weight of up to 15kg for the male, it is incredibly impressive to see them float in the air. This trip will take the entire day, but it’s totally worth it since we will see various unique ecological zones, from desserts to heigh plateaus. We will pass several smaller towns and villages, may bump into some lamas or alpacas, and even have the chance to cool down (or warm up) in the La Calera hot springs.
Puno & Titicaca Lake
Another heigh point of our trip, Titicaca. Sail on the world’s highest navigable lake, and South America’s largest lake (27% of Belgium’s size) on the border of Peru with Bolivia. At an altitude of 3812m, it is about the same height as Europe’s highest reachable points by cable car (Klein Matterhorn at 3883m and Aguille de Midi at 3842m). Taking it slow is the keyword. The city of Puno is located on the Northeast shore of the lake, has about 140.000 inhabitants, and was also founded by the Spanish (1668). Several colonial buildings can still be found here, so a short discovery of the town is included in our trip. But the main reason for travelling to Puno is to see the 100+ floating villages of the Uru people on the lake. Coming from both Peru and Bolivia, these people construct islands in an ingenious way with Totora reeds that they harvest from the Titicaca lake. Every island houses a few to about ten families.
With a population of well over 400.000 people, Cusco (or Cuzco) is really the starting for any tourist who visits the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu. At 3400m also altitude is an issue for many tourists in this city. Acclimatisation and a slow pace is therefore necessary to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site. This former Inca Capital is also designated at the Historical Capital in the Peruvian Constitution.
City of Cusco Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cuzco developed, under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city. (Source: UNESCO website)
The city has a very pleasant atmosphere. Its small streets, lovely shops and restaurants and the lively Plaza de Armas are worth taking some time to just experience. In Cusco we will be following a cooking class while learning more about the Peruvian / Incan kitchen, and we also visit the Cusco Planetarium to learn more about Inca astronomy.
Going to Machu Picchu is only possible in two ways. First, by foot. But we leave the famous Inca Trail for others and for a next time. It takes about 4 days to hike your way to Machu Picchu, but we prefer to take the lazy route. So the second way is by train, or at least the last 2 hours from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.
The first part can be done by either train or bus. We wil take a bus because there are various important sites to see along the way from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, including the Inca ruins at Pisac, the Salt Mines at Urubamba, and the concentric circles at Moray. We will enjoy a dinner at the central square of Ollantaytambo, before getting on a train to our final main destination of this unique trip.
The original name of Aguas Calientes is Machupicchu Pueblo, and was founded in 1901 by farmers but soon become a railroad workers town. Nowadays it is the entrance gate for anyone who wants to visit the ancient Inca city. Since Cusco is at 3399m and Machu Picchu is high up on a mountain, many people think that the Inca city must be much higher. But this is not true, because from Cusco to Aguas Calientes you go down to 2040, and from there you ascend again.
Aguas Calientes is a true waterhole for tourists. It’s small, but there are hotels, tourist shops, bars and restaurants everywhere. The train runs straight to the town, which makes it a unique place to visit. Another main attraction are the hot springs which are a few minutes walking. What a perfect way to mentally prepare for our next and final destination of this trip.
Few top tourist destinations in the world are so difficult to reach as Machu Picchu. First you need to take a flight to Cusco, then take a train, minivan or taxi to Ollantaytambo, and then you must take a train for the last stretch to Aguas Calientes. From there you can take a bus up a very steep hill with many hairpins, until you reach the entrance gate at Machu Picchu. Reserving in advance is required, but rest assured that also now we got you covered.
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. (Source: UNESCO website)
Machu Picchu is located at 2430m on a mountain ridge between two higher points. For those who like to get the max out of it, you can opt for a hiking trip to higher elevated Huayna Picchu viewpoint. The Inca city was built around 1450, but was inhabited only for one century until the Spanish conquest. Although the local population was aware of the “lost city”, the Spanish didn’t, and it wasn’t until Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911.
We cannot yet tell you in which hotels we are staying. However, we for sure stay in good 4* and 5* hotels at nice locations and with good to excellent reviews. We may stay once or twice in a good 3* hotel due to the unavailability of higher hotel classes. Your safety, convenience and comfort is most important.
There are no direct flights to Peru. Therefore we are likely to fly Air France / KLM, Lufthansa or British Airways. This will involve a quick transfer in Paris, Amsterdam or London.