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Machu Picchu, Ecuador and the Avenue of the Volcanoes with Cruising the Galapagos add-on
17 days from £4598
Mar 2015 - Oct 2015 departures
Peru holidays offer the chance to see many of South America's greatest attractions, including the cloud city of Machu Picchu; the mysterious Nazca Lines; the old capital, Cusco; and Lake Titicaca, the world's highest lake.
Most of the sights you will see on Peru tours are tied in with the country's extraordinary history - in particular the great Inca empire and the tiny Spanish army who conquered the country and changed the course of South American history forever. Many Inca buildings were torn down by the Spanish, who used the stone to create their own stunning cathedrals and churches. But some survived, swallowed up by the jungle and preserved for future generations to find.
There's no doubt that the top sight of any Peru holiday is Machu Picchu, a vast city high in the Andes that was discovered by the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911. Some travellers choose to hike as but it's easy to take a day trip by rail or coach and experience this unique site in comfort.
Whichever path you take to Machu Picchu on holidays in Peru, the road usually begins with a few days' acclimatisation in Cusco. The grand main square - the Plaza de Armas - contains a stunning colonial cathedral whose walls feature a very unusual version of the Last Supper. In this fascinating example of Catholic art being adapted to reflect local traditions, Jesus and his disciples prepare to dine on the popular Peruvian delicacy of a guinea pig.
Spanning the border with Bolivia is Lake Titicaca, the world's highest lake. Take a boat from Puno out to Isla del Sol or its smaller sister island Isla de la Luna, and you'll find an eerily quiet atmosphere: appropriate for the islands where the Inca god is believed to have risen. Sunset on this sparsely inhabited island is unforgettable, and a highlight of Peru holidays.
To the south, the Nazca Lines are also thought to have religious significance. These markings in the earth, mostly representing geometric shapes or animals, can only be seen from the air. They're a little like crop circles and their exact purpose isn't known - an intriguing enigma that you'll be thinking about long after your Peru holiday is over.