Lima, Machu Picchu and the stunning Andean scenery are among the draws of Peru, which lies along the western edge of South America. Escorted travel is a popular way to explore this country, as tour operators negotiate low air and hotel rates and pass the savings on to you. Insightful tour guides ensure you ll get the most from your trip as they share the history and culture behind the sights and attractions. Some companies also offer independent vacations, with plenty of free time, in Lima and Cuzco.
Lima is the capital and home to many examples of colonial-era buildings, like the Monastery of San Francisco and the Cathedral of Lima. Guests can descend into eerie catacombs beneath the cathedral, where the bones of the long-dead are kept. Snuggled at 11,200 feet in the Andes mountains is Cuzco, where featured sights include its Santo Domingo monastery and the Inca Temple of the Sun. Cuzco is the gateway to world-famous Machu Picchu, an Incan fortress built around 1400 at about 8,000 feet above sea level. Your guide will describe ancient Incan life and traditions, bringing to life a civilization that flourished so many years ago.
* Key to Quality Ratings
These vacations are classified according to the quality of accommodations, the number of included amenities and activities, and the level of service delivered.
= Budget vacations that typically range from $50 to $200 per person, per day, plus airfare.
= First class vacations that typically range from $80 to $350 per person, per day, plus airfare.
= Deluxe vacations that typically range from $200 to $650 per person, per day, plus airfare.