• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Belmond Andean Explorer – Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Belmond have announced the arrival of an incredible new train journey in Peru – launching in May 2017 the Andean Explorer could be a fantastic addition to your holiday in the region.

 A carefully curated selection of four journeys will include ‘Peruvian Highlands’, a two night, three day journey departing from Cusco to Puno, where guests will be able to visit the remote villages and floating islands on Lake Titicaca, and then onwards to Arequipa, including a chance to stop and explore Colca Canyon, the realm of the condor. A shorter option, fully inclusive of all meals, an open bar and scheduled excursions, will be the ‘Spirit of the Andes’ journey, crossing the Altiplano between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca.  

Picture copyright to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture copyright to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture credited to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

Inside the train you will be met by personal luxury cabins where you can relax along your journey, a lounge car for you to relax with friends and family, two dining rooms serving locally sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes and an observation car with an open deck so you can make the most of the ever changing landscape.

 

 

 

 If you would like to find out more or add this glorious train journey to your own bespoke, tailor made itinerary then please contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Picture copyright Belmont - Inge Moore

Picture copyright to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

Great Rail Journeys of the World

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

We are often asked what and where is the best rail journey in the world? So in answer to this we have detailed below some of our must do Great Rail Journeys of the World:

  • Consider the luxury rail experience offered by the Eastern and Oriental Express, operating between Singapore and Bangkok and taking two or three nights depending on the direction of travel. Enjoy vistas of tea plantations, rolling farmland, colonial cities and historic temples.
  • Take a rail journey in Vietnam, from the bustling city of Hanoi to the village of Sapa, located in the mountains overlooking spectacular views of the Ta Van valley’s terraced rice fields. The train operates overnight in both directions.
  • Think about the super-fast Shinkansen ‘Bullet Train’ in Japan. There are a number of routes on offer, but no trip to Japan is complete without at least one trip in the iconic Bullet Train.
Picture courtesy of JNTO

Picture courtesy of JNTO

 There are three iconic rail journeys available in New Zealand, one on the North Island, and two on the South.

  • On the North Island, the Northern Explorer runs from Auckland to Wellington through diverse countryside comprising of rolling farmland, towering viaducts and beautiful hidden valleys.
  • On the South Island, the Tranz Alpine train runs from Christchurch in the east to Greymouth in the west through stunning scenery. A stop is made in the small mountain town of Arthur’s Pass, where a stay enables a closer inspection of this Alpine region.  The Coastal Pacific runs from Picton (tying in perfectly with the ferry from Wellington on the NorthIsland)  south to Christchurch. This rail journey stops in Kaikoura en route, where a stay gives the opportunity to take a whale watching cruise.

 

  • An impressive and popular rail journey on the Devil’s Nose section of railway in Ecuador could be a part of your holiday itinerary.  Named Devil’s Nose due to the many deaths amongst workers as well as difficulty of building it, the route connects the Alausi and Sibambe stations taking a stunning trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes through breath-taking scenery.
  • Board the tourist train in Peru taking you on a journey through the Urubamba Valley or Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the marvellous mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu.
  • One of the more popular rail routes is the Coast Starlight which takes you along the west coast between Seattle and Los Angeles stopping in Portland along the way. Why not take a day out of your itinerary to treat yourself by taking a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train where you can relax on-board the exquisitely restored vintage rail cars and experience fine dining service, multiple course meals and the stunning Napa Valley scenery. Most people see the Grand Canyon from the skies but since 1901 the Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people right through the heart of this amazing place and you could be one of them, you’ll feel like you’re travelling back in time. For something a little different during your visit to Colorado why not travel along the 45 miles of 3 foot narrow gauge track on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway which has been running since 1881. However long your journey is travelling by rail is a definite must do during your USA holiday.
Picture courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

Picture courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

  • The most famous rail journey in Canada has to be the Rocky Mountaineer. With a variety of routes available you can spend a couple of days or a couple of weeks on board. One of the more popular routes is the Journey through the Clouds which takes you between Vancouver and Jasper with an overnight stop in Kamloops. With different grades of      service available this is a must no matter how big or small your budget is. If you want to travel the width of Canada in comfort and without missing the scenery as you concentrate on driving then take a ride on The Canadian. In the space of four nights and three days, you’ll get to see the lakes in Northern Ontario, the lush boreal forest, the western Prairies, and the magnificent Rocky Mountains as you travel between historical Quebec and modern Toronto.
  • Australia has some of the most iconic rail journeys in the world. There isn’t enough room here to talk about them all but here are some to whet your appetite. The Indian Pacific gets its name because it covers 4352km between Perth on the Indian Ocean and Sydney on the Pacific Ocean. The whole journey takes three nights, although you can break it up with a stop in Adelaide. You’ll travel through a variety of landscapes from towns and cities to the desert like Nullarbour Plain, from the outback to the forest of the Blue Mountains. So we’ve taken you East and West, but what if you want to go North and South? Named after the Afghan Cameleers who travelled this route, the Ghan will take between Darwin in the North to Adelaide in the South going straight through the centre of Australia. If it’s just a day on a train that you would prefer then a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway is perfect. It was built between 1882 and 1891 and is made up of 15 hand made tunnels and 37 bridges taking you from Cairns into the Barron Gorge National Park on your way to Karunda, known as the village in the rainforest.

 

  • Africa has a wealth of train experiences that cover the whole spectrum from world leader to leaving a lot to desire.  Rovos Rail has exciting itineraries that stretch from Pretoria, in South Africa through all their southern neighbouring countries and even a trip to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Where possible they travel during the day. The Blue Train is another South African luxury train that travels from Johannesburg to Durban and Cape Town or vice versa.
Picture courtesy of SA Tourism

Picture courtesy of SA Tourism

For further information, and for assistance planning your next bespoke, tailor made holiday which could incorporate one of these great rail journeys, please call us on 01323 446550, email us at  info@experienceholidays.co.uk 

 

 

 

Peru – Condors, Culture and Countryside

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Avatar

 

Picture courtesy of M. Buckman. There is so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu, and on this itinerary idea you will explore many of Peru’s highlights, culminating in your discovery of the stunning city of Machu Picchu.

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Summary

On the 24th July 1911, Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu and on any visit to Peru, this is one of the major highlights.  However, there is so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu and on this itinerary idea, you will explore many of Peru’s highlights, culminating in your own discovery of the stunning city of Machu Picchu.

Day 1: Lima
Day 2: Arequipa
Day 4: Colca Canyon
Day 6: Puno
Day 8: Cusco
Day 10: Sacred Valley
Day 11: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu
Day 12: Cusco
Day 14: Depart Cusco
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Description

The country of Peru is located on the western side of the South American continent, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes and into the Amazon Basin, and from its border with Ecuador in the north to Chile and Bolivia in the South.  It is a country steeped in history, probably the best known of which is the Inca Empire.  No trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to the lost city of Machu Picchu, but take time to explore other highlights of this fascinating country first and one very quickly realises that there is a lot more to Peru than meets the eye.

Day 1: Lima
Arrive in Lima. Take a tour of Peru’s capital city before transferring to your overnight hotel.
Lima 1 night

Day 2: Arequipa
Fly south to Arequipa for a 2 night stay. Located in the southern Peruvian highlands, Arequipa is set in beautiful countryside surrounded by snow capped mountains. Your stay here includes a city tour which begins with the extraordinary architecture of the Convent of Santa Catalina, opened to the public in 1970 after more than 400 years of religious cloistered life. Visit the Plaza de Armas or Main Square, the Cathedral, Church of La Compañia with all its colonial jewels and its chapel Sixitina, then cross the city along the Chili River before visiting the Carmen Alto viewpoint to enjoy beautiful views of Arequipa´s valley.
Arequipa 2 nights

Day 4: Colca Canyon
Today you will embark on a 3 day/2 night private tour to the remarkable Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest canyon. During your tour you will journey deep into the Andes where you will have the opportunity to view the majestic flight of the condors. With spectacular scenery the area is also home to llamas and Vicuñas, the national animal of Peru. Visit small remote towns and villages that still maintain their ancestral traditions.Your base for 2 nights is the town of Chivay.
Chivay 2 nights

Day 6: Puno
This morning travel by private transfer to the city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca for a 2 night stay. On your full day here you will take an excursion to the Uros and Taquile Islands in Lake Titicaca. The Uros Islands are made of reeds and rise six meters above the lake level. They are anchored by logs and connected to each other by ropes. The inhabitants live basically by fishing, hunting and making handicrafts to sell to visitors. Continue to the Taquile island. Offering a spectacular view from its hills, Taquile is an important textile centre. Taquileños still follow a traditional life style, making a living from their textile activities.
Puna 2 nights

Day 8: Cusco
Today you will take a guided bus transfer from Puno to Cusco. This 9 hour journey includes lunch and stops off enroute at many places of interest including Andahuaylillas Church, with its superb murals, the remarkable Raqchi Inca archaeological complex and the village of Pucara, famous for its pottery. Your full day will include and half day tour or the city, considered by many to be the Archaeological Capital of the Americas, and the nearby ruins.  There is an alternative mode of transport here – by rail.

Cusco 2 nights

Day 10: Sacred Valley
Today you will take a full day tour in the Sacred Valley of the Incas before checking in to you hotel in village of Yucay, located in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Sacred Valley 1 night

Day 11: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu
Rise early and transfer to Ollantaytambo railway station to board the tourist train through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the fabulous mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was never discovered by the Spaniards. For centuries it was buried in the jungle until found in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. The Holy City of Machu Picchu represents an extraordinary example of architecture and engineering. Upon arrival at the station at Aguas Calientas, buses wait to transfer you to the top of the ruins.
Aguas Calientes 1 night

Day 12: Cusco
Morning at leisure, before catching the afternoon train back to Cusco.  On arrival in Cusco, you will be transferred to your hotel for a further 2 night stay
Cusco 2 nights

Day 14: Depart Cusco
Transfer to Cusco airport for the start of your return journey to the UK or continue your adventure…

Possible Extensions
The above itinerary is just one suggestion for Peru – it may be amended to suit your particular interests. If time allows, there are numerous ways to extend your trip including..

The Nazca Lines
Travel South of Lima to Ica. From here take a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines. These drawings made in the sand over 2,000 years ago by the Nazca people are only visible from the air. You will see gigantic geometrical lines resembling a landing field and over 32 figures including a monkey, a spider, a condor, a reptile, a fish, a bird… Continue to the Paracas Peninsular where you may take a cruise out to the Ballestas islands; sea lions, penguins and more than 60 species of sea birds and wild life.

Peruvian Rainforest
Complete your Peru experience with a few days in the Amazon rainforest. There are number of exciting options available, from a luxury cruise into remote estuaries of the Peruvian rainforest to an exhilerating camping expedition through the remote and pristine Manu Biosphere Reserve, or a relaxing stay in a rainforest lodge where rainforest walks, bird watching and canoeing are amongst the acitivities on offer.

Call us for more details and ideas on your tailor made trip …

JA bus

Credit Jenny Appleton

 

JA crocodile

Credit Jenny Appleton

 

JA horseriding

Credit Jenny Appleton

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Little Gems

Machu Picchu is a very special place. We suggest including a second entry ticket to the ruins giving you the opportunity to explore at your own pace and without the crowds of day trippers that will arrive in the middle of the morning.
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Client Feedback

‘We loved Cusco and really could have spent an extra night there, but the highlight of the holiday, without a doubt, was our visit to Machu Picchu.  STUNNING!’
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BA makes Machu Picchu, Peru more accessible

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Machu Pichu - Picture courtesy of M. Buckman

Machu Pichu – Picture courtesy of M. Buckman

British Airways are launching flights to Lima as from next summer.  It will be in operation three times a week from Gatwick and will start on May 4, offering the only direct flights between London and the capital of Peru.

While Machu Picchu will be high on your list of places to see there is so much to do and see in Peru that you really do need to plan your time here well. Machu   Picchu has become so popular that you now need to book your time in this stunning site. Fly in to Lima and then head to the Peruvian highlands around Arequipa – beautiful countryside surrounded by snow capped, rugged mountains. The city abounds with colonial era architecture and convents that have existed for 400 years.

The world’s deepest canyon, the Colca Canyon takes you deep in to the Andes and is full of wildlife and birdlife, including the rare condor. The villages here have hardly been touched by the modern world. No trip to Peru should miss the Sacred Valley of the Incas with Pucara considered by many as the best archaeological site in South America.

Catch the tourist train through the Sacred Valley that takes you to Aguas Caliente where you can catch the bus that takes you to the Holy City of Machu Picchu. This has to be one of the highlights of any trip to Peru.

If time allows, consider travelling to Ica, south of Lima to take a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines – huge drawing made in the desert 2000 years ago and only truly appreciated from the air. And /or include a trip to the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest for a completely different type of experience.

 With direct flights starting next May it is all so much more doable, please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk to discuss your bespoke, tailor made trip to Peru (or anywhere else for that matter).

Country: Peru

Posted on:
Posted by:

Yvonne Dann

 

Discover this intriguing and historic country as you travel around at your leisure.  

Begin by exploring the capital city Lima, located on the coast with a rich history from the arrival of the Spanish and before.  Move on to Arequipa located in the southern Peruvian Highlands and home to the Santa Catalina Convent and small museum that houses the Mummy Junaita. Consider visiting Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, and Cusco at the centre of the Inca Empire. And last but certainly not least, the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu.

Explore our itinerary of this extraordinary country.

Peru – Condors, Culture and Countryside

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