Journey through Peru’s mountains, deserts, and coastlines; catch a glimpse of the Andean condor and the blue-footed booby; marvel at UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca; and surround yourself with over 5000 years of history and culture.
Immerse yourself in the best of Peru: On this in-depth 14-day/13-night tour, you’ll journey through Peru’s mountains, deserts, and coastlines; catch a glimpse of the Andean condor and the blue-footed booby; marvel at UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca; and surround yourself with over 5000 years of history and culture. With this package, we’ll worry about the lodging, transportation and airfare, meals, and entrance fees, so all you need to focus on is living the experience.
Day 1 — Arrive in Lima
Our Best of Peru tour will begin with a private car transfer from the airport to our hotel followed by a free afternoon to relax, settle in, and explore Lima. At 18:00 pm, we’ll check out Lima’s Magic Water Circuit — a Guinness World Record winner for the largest public water fountain complex park. These stunning illuminated fountains and seasonal exhibitions light up the night, and provide a stunning introduction to Lima.
Afterwards, we’ll head to La DamaJuana restaurant and cultural theater, where we’ll experience Peru’s living legacy through its buffet of world-famous Peruvian cuisine and through traditional dances, melodies, and stories celebrating over 5,000 of history.
Day 2 — Tour Colonial and Contemporary Lima
We’ll begin our day touring Lima’s outstanding and lavish historic district, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once called “The City of the Kings,” historic Lima includes lavish colonial mansions, Moorish-style balconies, and cobblestone streets that speak to Lima’s legacy as the epicenter of Spanish colonialism in the 16th-19th centuries.
Later in the day, we’ll explore the monumental Basílica y Convento de San Francisco (Saint Francis Basilica), home to Lima’s original cemetery–the San Francisco crypts and catacombs. These daunting, eerie catacombs are the resting places to over 75,000 bodies dating back hundreds of years. Afterwards, we’ll head above ground, and take a look America’s largest collection of colonial, religious art, also housed in the Basílica.
After a refreshing lunch, we’ll continue our tour at one of Lima’s most important archaeological and religious centers: “The Sanctuary of Pachacamac,” with a guided tour of the citadel to explore pre-Hispanic structures. On the way back, we’ll visit one of Lima’s most emblematic districts, Barranco, known for its romantic blend of classic colonial architecture, a strong art and music scene, and a stunning seaside view. To end our day, we will grab dinner at a local restaurant and get some rest in the hotel.
Day 3 — Explore Paracus National Reserve
After enjoying our last breakfast in Lima, we’ll transfer to the bus station to head to the small peninsula of Paracas–a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Peru’s west coast, and home to the Paracus National Reserve. After a quick stop-off at our hotel, we’ll begin our excursion into the coastal reserve at 11:15 a.m.
Throughout the day, we’ll explore the rich biodiversity that thrives in the 335,000 hectare reserve, as well as the protected history of pre-Incan Paracus peoples who lived in the region. We will then return to the hotel for the night.
Day 4 — Travel to Nazca
After an early breakfast in our hotel, we’ll arrive at Paracus’s marine port at 8:30 a.m., where we’ll travel by boat to the Ballestas Islands–an important sanctuary for to Humboldt penguins, several clans of sea lions and a major stopping point for migratory birds. After our excursion, we will travel to Nazca City, the ancestral home of the Nazca indigenous people, and–if time permits–tour the Nazcan aqueducts built between 100 and 800 C.E., and still used today.
Day 5 — See the Nazca Lines from Above
In the morning, we’ll head to the local airport and fly to the Nazca Desert to witness the outstanding and enigmatic Nazca Lines. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the Nazca Lines consist of over 170 square miles (450 square kilometers) of complex figures, or geoglyphs, cut into the earth between 1500 and 2500 years ago.
The geometric figures such as the Hummingbird, the Condor, or the Tree are a testament to the highly sophisticated and advanced society that once thrived in this region. We’ll take a plane to see the otherworldly Nazca Lines from above. After, we’ll travel to our hotel to Arequipa for the night.
Day 6 — Tour of the White City of Arequipa
After breakfast, we’ll begin our day with a tour of the White City of Arequipa. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is named for its white sillar (volcanic stone) buildings, constructed from the rock of the four imposing volcanoes that surround this breathtaking small town. After lunch, we will visit The Monastery of Santa Catalina where we’ll enjoy a 1-hour guided tour of this protected 17th century cloister. In the evening, we will return to the hotel where we will spend the night.
Day 7 — Take a Dip in Thermal Springs
After breakfast, we’ll travel to Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons known for its living cultural heritage and its pre-Inca terraced landscapes. At around midday, we’ll arrive at the small town of Chivay, nestled into the heart of Colca Valley, before continuing onward to the traditional town of Coporaque.
After exploring Coporaque, we’ll head La Mamayacchi Lodge, where we’ll enjoy a peaceful, rustic lunch before driving to one of the region’s naturally occurring thermal baths for a dip. In the evening, we’ll return to our hotel to relax.
Day 8 — Capture Panoramas at Condor Cross Lookout Point
We’ll enjoy an early breakfast before traveling to see the stunning Mirador de la Cruz del Cóndor. From this mirador (view point), we’ll get a chance to photograph the canyon’s breathtaking depth, color, and expanse. If we’re lucky, we might just witness the flight of an Andean Condor. Afterwards, we will return to Chivay for lunch, stopping along at the region’s many small traditional towns. In the afternoon, we will head to Puno City, stopping at the pre-Incan cemetery Chullpas de Sillustani along the way.
Day 9 — Get Local on Lake Titicaca
After breakfast, we will travel to the port of Lake Titicaca–a UNESCO World Heritage Site–and travel by boat to the Uru Floating Islands. These islands were handcrafted by the Uru people with totora, a reed native to the lake. The Uru people still live on the islands. Then we’ll travel onward to Taquile Island, known for its sustainable, community-controlled tourism sector and for its handwoven textiles considered the best of Peru. Here, we’ll have lunch before returning to our hotel in Puno for the night. You will have lunch in a traditional restaurant and then return to the hotel at Puno.
Day 10 — Step inside the ancient Inca Capital
After breakfast, we will transfer to the bus terminal and travel tourist-class to Imperial City of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire for over three centuries, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. En-route, we will stop to visit notable ruins and towns, including Pukara, the temple of Wiracocha Raqchi, Andahualillas’ Church, and more. We will stop in the town of Sicuani where we’ll enjoy a buffet lunch. Upon arrival in Cusco, we’ll head to the hotel for the night.
Day 11 — Tour Pre-Spanish Cusco
After breakfast at 10:00 a.m., explore the best of historic Cusco, including Plaza Mayor, Temple of the Sun, and the cathedral. Afterwards, we will leave the city center and visit the pre-Spanish temples of Kenko, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, as well as the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman. This UNESCO-protected citadel was strategically built overlooking Cusco over 1000 years ago, and still stands as an impressive reminder of Inca domination in the region. We will then return to the hotel to enjoy a free afternoon to explore or rest as desired.
Day 12 — Travel to the Sacred Balley
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Sacred Valley, a rich fertile river valley absorbed by the monumental snow-capped Andes on all sides. Here in the Sacred Valley, you’ll feel the spirit of the Inca and the blessing of life that the Vilcanota River provides to the people of Cusco.
As we continue onward in the day, we will visit the panoramic ruins at Pisac, as well as the community’s outdoor market, where we’ll have the opportunity to appreciate the many goods grown and created by the locals. We will stop lunch in a small, local restaurant (included in the program) and end our busy day with a visit to the impressive Ollantaytambo fortress–a major Inca stronghold against Spanish invasion. We’ll spend the night in Sacred Valley.
Day 13 — Marvel at the Sacred Citadel of Machu Picchu
After an early breakfast, we will experience the absolute best of Peru–the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites and a tribute to human ingenuity. We’ll spend the day exploring its many graceful and grand sectors precisely adapted to the mountainside. In the afternoon, we will return by train or bus to the city of Cusco.
Day 14 — Return to Lima
In just two weeks, we’ve experienced the best of Peru! On our last day, we will enjoy our final breakfast together before transferring to the airport and flying back to Lima.
Your Best of Peru Adventure includes:
Minimum 2 people
After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.