Simply Peru

Simply Peru

14 Days Starting in Lima, Peru and ending in Cusco, Peru

Visiting: Lima, Nazca, Arequipa, Chivay, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Uros, Taquile Island, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

QPS

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

10 - 16

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:

Adult

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$2080
$1799 (USD) Operator discount: -$230 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$51 -14%
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Tour Overview

Join us on this great value trip as we discover the highlights of Peru including its impressive mountain citadel, Machu Picchu. We sail on Lake Titicaca, visiting the Indian communities on Uros and Taquile Islands, where we overnight with a local family. We also discover the colourful cities of Cusco and Arequipa and search for condors at the majestic Colca Canyon. Using some simple hotels, public transport and with ample free time to choose your own adventure, this is a great way to see Peru on a shoestring. Not only discovering the highlights, including Machu Picchu and the majestic Colca Canyon, this trip gets you to the heart of Peru, with a homestay on Lake Titicaca and a trip to one of Cusco's best food markets.

Highlights

  • From Puno we take a boat trip on Lake Titicaca to explore the floating reed islands, home to the Uros people who live on the lake itself. Their islands are made from totura, a reed-like papyrus that grows in the shallows and is used in most aspects of their life, including the construction of their boats and homes.

  • Arrive in Lima, Peru's capital, which was founded in 1535AD by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Today it is a modern, cosmopolitan city, but in the old centre there are obvious reminders both of its colonial and pre-hispanic past. Its location on the shores of the Pacific Ocean mean that you can easily escape the busy traffic of the city for a little calm on nearby coastal walking paths.

  • We cross the Patapampa pass with a brief stop at the trip's highest point (4910 m) before beginning our descent to the town of Chivay

  • We visit the Colca Canyon. A spectacular river gorge, the Colca Canyon measures twice the depth of the more famous Grand Canyon and at one time it was believed to be the deepest gorge on earth (until it was eclipsed by the deeper Cotahuasi Canyon).

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Join Trip In Lima
Location: Lima
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Arawi Express Miraflores Hotel (or similar)

Arrive in Lima, Peru's capital, which was founded in 1535AD by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Today it is a modern, cosmopolitan city, but in the old centre there are obvious reminders both of its colonial and pre-hispanic past. Its location on the shores of the Pacific Ocean mean that you can easily escape the busy traffic of the city for a little calm on nearby coastal walking paths.

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7.30pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Lima at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport (airport code LIM) which is approximately a one-hour drive from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to take an independent stroll along the coastal path to Miraflores and through the bohemian district of Barranco, or alternatively visit the excellent Larco Museum for an introduction to Peru's ancient history. The city is also gaining a reputation as a culinary centre; try some ceviche (fish marinated in citrus juices) or sip on a Pisco sour.

Day 2 : Public Bus To Nazca
Location: Nazca
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Oro Viejo Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

Departing Lima early this morning we board a modern public coach south, following the Pacific coastline, before turning towards the fertile mountain valleys that lie around town of Nazca. Our journey around seven hours and brings us through some of the driest desert regions on earth. Here we find the winegrowing landscapes of the Ica Valley, a region that produces some excellent vintage, as well as Peru's distinctive local tipple, Pisco, a particularly potent mix made from the white grape. Our final destination for today is the oasis town of Nazca, lying in the shadow of Cerro Blanco, which, at over 2000m, is the highest sand dune on earth. We arrive in the early afternoon and the rest of the day is free to relax or explore Nazca.

Day 3 : In Nazca; Optional View Nazca Lines From Viewing Platform Or Chauchilla Pre-Inca Cemetery, Overnight Bus To Arequipa
Location: Nazca, Arequipa
Accommodation: Overnight Bus from Nazca to Arequipa

Some specialists have speculated that the Nazca Lines represent the world's largest astrological calendar. Huge birds, spiders, whales, other creatures and geometrical figures are represented in outline. Here we have several options to spend the day. You have chance to climb nearby viewing platforms for views out over the lines etched into the desert. Or maybe visit the nearby Antonini Archaeological Museum, the Chauchilla pre-Inca cemetery or the Nazca aqueduct. Alternatively, you could do a full day tour of the area with a local guide, including all of the above, along with the historical Acueductus de Cantalloc, the Inca ruin of Los Paradones and a local pottery workshop.

After dinner today we board the coach for our overnight journey, continuing south through the night towards the city of Arequipa and the volcanic landscapes of the Andean Mountains. Our coach is very modern, with good sized reclining seats and TVs on board, as well as a well-maintained toilet. Blankets are also provided - it's a comfortable way to travel long distance in Peru.

Day 4 : Arrive Arequipa; Free Afternoon For Sightseeing
Location: Arequipa
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Casona Plaza Colonial (or similar)

We arrive in Arequipa this morning at around 9am. This beautiful city is spectacularly located at the foot of the volcanic slopes of El Misti, a perfect conical peak that rises to some 5822m above this grand colonial city, The city itself was founded by the Spanish in 1540, on the site of an old Inca settlement, and today is famed for its colonial architecture, including what is arguably one of the finest arcaded city squares anywhere in the Americas. Arriving this morning we will transfer to the hotel, after which the rest of the day is free to explore at your leisure, perhaps taking in the elegance of the Plaza de Armas and its immense twin-towered cathedral. You might also like to visit the striking 17th century churches of La Compania and San Agustin and the colonial grandeur of Casa de Moras, or perhaps pay a visit to the extraordinary Santa Catalina Convent, a miniature walled town in the heart of the city, which once housed 450 nuns and serving ladies in total seclusion for nearly 4 centuries. Riddled with a network of cobbled streets and lavishly restored with period furnishings and beautifully ornate touches, the convent is without doubt one of the highlights of any visit to the city. Other recommended sights are the old university and the archaeological museum, which has a fine collection of ceramics and mummies. Otherwise you may choose to take a seat at one of the cafes overlooking the main square and watch the comings and goings.

Day 5 : Travel To Chivay, Optional Hot Springs
Location: Chivay
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Casa Andina Standard Colca - Chivay (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast today we travel to Chivay by private bus. Our journey takes around six hours and brings us into the world of the Altiplano, passing behind the volcanoes that ring Arequipa and on to Chivay. There are herds of llama and alpaca en route, and if lucky we may spot the elusive vicuña. We cross the Patapampa pass with a brief stop at the trip's highest point (4910 m) before beginning our descent to the town of Chivay. On arrival we have a late lunch and the afternoon is free to perhaps bathe in the hot springs (optional).

Day 6 : Visit The Colca Canyon, Continue To Puno
Location: Colca Canyon, Puno
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Qelqatani Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning we visit the Colca Canyon. A spectacular river gorge, the Colca Canyon measures twice the depth of the more famous Grand Canyon and at one time it was believed to be the deepest gorge on earth (until it was eclipsed by the deeper Cotahuasi Canyon). Largely unknown to the outside world until the latter years of the 20th century, today it affords us an opportunity to discover a world of Andean villages and Inca terraces that make up one of the most outstanding natural settings in the Americas. This is the world of the Altiplano, where the Rio Colca meanders through a landscape of towering volcanic peaks that offer a stunning backdrop to a land inhabited by Cabana and Collagua Indians. Home to the massive and majestic Andean Condor, these awe-inspiring vistas derive their name from the old Incan practise of storing harvested grain in natural vaults carved into the canyon walls, vaults that the Indians called colcas. This afternoon we drive east, heading towards the beautiful landscapes that surround the unique waters of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the word (3856m). Our destination is the town of Puno, a centre of Incan folklore nestling in a bay at the northwestern tip of the lake and the perfect base from which to explore something of the cultural and historical significance of the lake itself.

Day 7 : Boat Trip On Lake Titicaca; Visit Uros Islands And Overnight On Taquile Island
Location: Lake Titicaca, Uros
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Taquile Village House (or similar)

From Puno we take a boat trip on Lake Titicaca to explore the floating reed islands, home to the Uros people who live on the lake itself. Their islands are made from totura, a reed-like papyrus that grows in the shallows and is used in most aspects of their life, including the construction of their boats and homes. We then continue to the less visited island of Taquile which has preserved much of its Inca and pre-Inca heritage and the islanders still speak the language of the Inca - Runa Simi or Quechua. We take our time walking across the island and we will have the chance to buy locally produced embroidery - the men's handiwork for once. This evening we stay in a local village house on the island.

Day 8 : Morning On Taquile Island, Afternoon Return To Puno
Location: Taquile Island
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Qelqatani Hotel (or similar)

This morning is free on Taquile Island to make the most of a setting where the local people still preserve a rich tradition of music and dance. You might like to take a walk up to the Inca ruins , or visit the market, presenting an ideal opportunity to buy some of the locally made embroidery that is produced by the men of the island. Later this afternoon we then return to Puno by boat, where we can take a stroll through the markets in search of excellent llama and alpaca wool items.

Day 9 : Public Bus To Cusco
Location: Cusco
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hacienda Cusco Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Lunch

Today we follow the legendary route taken by the first Inca ruler - Manco Capac - on his way to find Cusco.

Rising early, we head to the public bus terminal where our coach awaits us. During the ten hour bus trip, we make several stops including at the small market town of La Raya, and the Inca ruin of the Temple of Wiracocha in Raqchi. The landscape is both desolate and magnificent, and we may pass flocks of llamas and alpacas grazing among the windswept meadows. Traversing the northern extremes of the Altiplano, we cross the La Raya pass (4321m) and the continental divide, before beginning the descent towards Cusco along the Rio Vilcanota. We arrive into the fascinating city in the late afternoon and check into our hotel.

There is also the possibility today to take the classic rail journey from Puno to Cusco (optional). One of the great railway journeys of the world, this full day trip covers some spectacular scenery over the high altiplano. It includes a meal aboard the train, with the chance to try some local delicacies and make use of the outside viewing platform before arriving into Cusco.

Please note that rail strikes are common in Peru and so there is the possibility that the train may not always be running. In the event that you have chosen the optional train ride and it is not operating, then we will make the journey from Puno to Cusco by bus, with the rest of the group. Refunds due to trains cancelled due to strike action is at the rail companies discretion.

Day 10 : Orientation Tour Of Cusco, Rest Of The Day Free
Location: Cusco
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hacienda Cusco Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

The old capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. Imbued with an atmosphere of mystery and grandeur, the Spanish-style city of today, with its attractive pink tiled roofs, arcaded plazas and steep winding alleyways, stands upon tremendous Inca foundation stones, its links with the Inca Empire everywhere to be seen, from the stone walls that line the city streets, to the museums filled with artefacts and relics of a long dead people.

This morning we make a short orientation tour of the city with the tour leader pointing out the key sites, before some free time to continue exploring further. We will see the rich majesty of the Plaza de Armas and the incredible remains of Qoricancha, once the heart of Inca society. After our walk around the city you are free to explore at your own pace - there are plenty of monuments and museums to enjoy here, as well as pisco-sampling opportunities!

You also have the option to visit the fortress-citadel of Sacsaywaman. Built to defend the Inca capital, Sacsaywaman broods high above the town, its huge, zigzagging stone walls broken into 66 sharply projecting angles to catch attackers in a withering crossfire. Meant to represent the head of a puma, 20,000 conscripted workers toiled for 90 years to finish it and it was the site of one of the most fiercely fought battles of the Spanish conquest, when the Incas made one last ditch attempt to drive out the Spanish, an attempt that ended in defeat and death for thousands of them.

Day 11 : Train To Aguas Calientes; Visit Machu Picchu
Location: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Accommodation: Adventure House (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning we transfer to the railway station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, our gateway to one of the greatest of all archaeological sites. The train slowly meanders down the valley, following the tumultuous waters of the Urubamba River through a series of rock cut tunnels before emerging at the small town of Aguas Calientes, serenely nestling amidst a lush landscape of cloud forests. From here we take a public bus up to the mountain complex of Machu Picchu, the fabled lost city of the Incas and probably
the most spectacular feat of engineering in ancient America. We have a tour of this magnificent city with our Tour Leader. Temples, stairways, palaces and gabled stone dwellings are scattered everywhere, testifying to the energy and ingenuity of the builders. Not without reason is this site probably the most revered tourist attraction in the Americas; its location alone is dramatic in the extreme, teetering on the saddle of a high mountain peak that towers above the valley below. Built in the mid 15th century by Pachacuti, the city was thought to have been a major agricultural centre for the Incan Empire and its inaccessibility seems to have preserved it from the looters of the intervening years, resulting in the remarkably well-preserved ruins that we see today. Returning by bus to our simple accommodation in Aguas Calientes, situated on the valley floor below, this evening then affords a chance to relax in the local thermal baths (optional).

Day 12 : More Time To Discover Machu Picchu (Optional); Train Back To Cusco
Location: Machu Picchu, Cusco
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hacienda Cusco Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

We have another chance this morning to explore the site. It is also possible to climb the steep peaks of either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain to look down on the citadel. Machu Picchu Mountain is a 700m climb from the top of the citadel. There are cobbled stairs all the way up with a few eye-opening drops in some parts, and the round-trip takes about 2.5-3 hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is only 350m, half the size of Machu Picchu Mountain, but much steeper. There are many more sheer drops, and it is definitely not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. For those who fancy doing the 1 hour climb, you'll be rewarded with world-beating views of Machu Picchu, and the feeling that you're standing on a precipice at the top of the world.

This must be pre-paid at time of booking. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you.

Later we take the afternoon train to Cusco.

Day 13 : In Cusco; Optional Whitewater Rafting
Location: Cusco
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hacienda Cusco Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: Breakfast

With a full free day in Cusco there's the chance to go white water rafting on the Urubamba River; grade 2-3 (optional and seasonal), or perhaps visit the market town of Pisac, strategically located at the head of the Urubamba Valley (optional). Pisac once controlled the road connecting the Inca Empire with Paucartambo on its eastern borders and the magnificent Inca ruins that once so dominated this valley still occupy the mountainside above the town, providing a worthy match for any of the temples of Machu Picchu. Other alternatives include a full day visit to the outlying Inca sites at Qenqo, Puka Pukara and Tambo Machay, or maybe a visit to the fortress-citadel of Saqsaywaman. Built to defend the Inca capital, Saqsaywaman broods high above the town, its huge, zigzagging stone walls broken into 66 sharply projecting angles to catch attackers in a withering crossfire. Meant to represent the head of a puma, 20,000 conscripted workers toiled for 90 years to finish it and it was the site of one of the most fiercely fought battles of the Spanish conquest, when the Incas made one last ditch attempt to drive out the Spanish, an attempt that ended in defeat and death for thousands of them. Otherwise you may want to chill out in Cusco and enjoy the atmosphere of this lively town.

Day 14 : Trip Ends In Cusco
Location: Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Cusco.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Cusco at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ), which is around 15 minutes' drive from our hotel.

Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may have some additional time to visit a museum or do some souvenir shopping in the winding streets and alleys of the city.
If you are travelling on to the Amazon, you will be transferred to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport this morning for your flight to Puerto Maldonado.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Fully Guided

  • Meals

    As detailed in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • International Travel

  • Country Entry Visas

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Check out our Q&As

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16 people (average group size is 12)

  • Will passengers from another country be participating in the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Andrew  

Spirit Of The Incas

12-Sep-2019

I think it would be very beneficial to have a close guide of all the trip costs before final booking, so your customers have a reasonable estimate on trip costs for budgeting. This has been the only floor in Explores holidays, I have now done four trips.

Robert  

Spirit Of The Incas

11-Oct-2017

A fantastic trip - every day was great and we will book again with Explore based on our great experience.

Alice  

Spirit Of The Incas

22-Oct-2019

This was a great way to see Peru with a range of transport and accommodation used. The guide and all additional guides were a great help with arranging transport and activities as well as a nice introduction to local culture.

Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Saturday

Mar 31, 2024 - Apr 13, 2024
$2080 $1799 (USD)

Operator discount: -$230 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$51 (USD)

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May 12, 2024 - May 25, 2024
$2060 $2003 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$57 (USD)

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Aug 04, 2024 - Aug 17, 2024
$2100 $2042 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$58 (USD)

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Sep 15, 2024 - Sep 28, 2024
$2140 $2003 (USD)

Operator discount: -$80 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$57 (USD)

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Sep 29, 2024 - Oct 12, 2024
$2000 $1945 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

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Oct 20, 2024 - Nov 02, 2024
$2250 $2188 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$62 (USD)

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Mar 30, 2025 - Apr 12, 2025
$2290 $2227 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

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Apr 27, 2025 - May 10, 2025
$2290 $2227 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

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May 11, 2025 - May 24, 2025
$2290 $2227 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

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Aug 03, 2025 - Aug 16, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

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Sep 14, 2025 - Sep 27, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

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Sep 28, 2025 - Oct 11, 2025
$2290 $2227 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

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Sunday - Saturday

Oct 19, 2025 - Nov 01, 2025
$2290 $2227 (USD)

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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