Days
19
Price from
FR3,883CHF

Delve into the culture, history and landscapes of colourful Peru, from Lima to La Paz

Peru’s history and geography read like myth and fable: earth’s most mysterious figures in the Nazca desert; the world’s deepest canyon; volcanoes guarding cities and a gigantic lake halfway to heaven. On top of all that is the incomparable Sacred Valley, the heartland of Incan culture and home to Peru’s finest monuments and relics from the ancient world. Exploring Cusco then setting off along Incan pathways is a must for all who want to experience the full magic of the region, both to appreciate the quiet splendour of the mountains, and the full power of Machu Picchu, rearing up suddenly on a hidden peak deep in the countless folds of the Andes. Lake Titicaca’s combination of stunning scenery, intense colours and intriguing customs makes it a favourite of many who travel in the region, while La Paz’s striking streets and vivacious culture is a vibrant finale to our adventure.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
La Paz, Bolivia
Country
Peru
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Adventure
Code
PSBU
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
20 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Tour Peru's enthralling capital with a guide, checking out its majestic colonial architecture and colossal cathedrals. There's nothing quite like being shown around by a local

  • View the mystifying Nazca Lines from above and learn of the various theories of their creation

  • Explore the UNESCO-listed 'White City' of Arequipa, with its beautiful pearly churches, cathedrals and convents

  • Be romanced by the ancient villages, colourfully-dressed locals and huge condors of the mighty Colca Canyon

  • Wander around Machu Picchu's majestically situated Incan ruins. This lofty city remained hidden from Spanish conquistadors, earning it the title of 'The Lost City'

  • Enter the ancient cosmopolis of Tiahuanaco, replete with pyramids, temples and giant stone monoliths. This place truly has an atmosphere of mysticism and worship

Is this trip right for you?

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit on this trip saome people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Lima a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

  • This trip involves some travel on local buses. Bus travel can be tiring, but it’s also a great opportunity to relax, rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy the scenery. 

  • We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers. 

  • It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

  • This trip involves a lot of walking through various towns. If you opt to walk the Inca Trail, there'll be strenuous hiking involved. This is recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness. There are, however, a few different trail options available to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • While on the Inca Trail, you'll be camping with basic facilities. It's not exactly the Hilton Hotel but the rewards of the trek are great.

Itinerary

Welcome to Lima, Peru! Arrive at Jorge Chavez International Airport where a transfer guide will be holding a sign with your name on it. You'll be transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores. In the evening, meet your leader and the other members of your group for a pre-trip briefing. This usually takes place at 6 pm, but please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception to confirm the exact time and place.

The meeting is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant. The cuisine in Lima is some of the best in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. Perhaps try Peru’s national dish of ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice with hot peppers).

Note: As this trip takes you to locations at high altitude, it's possible that some travellers may experience adverse health effects due to altitude sickness. Please see the 'Is this trip right for you?' and 'Health' sections of the trip notes for important information about this.
Accommodation
  • Antigua Mira Flores or Similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start your day with a walking tour of Peru's capital, once the most powerful in South America. You'll see many of the city's icons such as the striking Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas) with its cathedral, Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace. Next, visit the San Francisco Monastery and the catacombs, containing some 70,000 human remains. Check out the huge variety of foods at Lima's Central Market, including exotic local fruits and the infamous 'cuy' (grilled guinea pig). Head to Lima's Chinatown and main square, where the tour will end in time for dinner. You have the option of eating in downtown Lima or back in Miraflores.

Throughout the day and after dinner, you might have some free time to wander around Lima by yourself. Perhaps visit the Parque del Amor (Love's Park) where you can enjoy views across Lima's beaches, or catch a taxi to the Gold or Larco Museums. Lima also has an impressive National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru.

Notes: Please remember that taxis here don't have meters, so you have to agree on a fare with the driver before getting in. For example, the trip between Miraflores and downtown Lima should cost between 10 and 15 soles.
Accommodation
  • Antigua Mira Flores or Similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel to the ancient city of Nazca using the regular deluxe bus service. Mummies, textiles and ceramics from the 2nd century BC have been remarkably well-preserved by the area's dry desert conditions. In Nazca, climb a viewing platform to see the famous Nazca lines - enormous geoglyphs which were drawn into the sand thousands of years ago. There are many theories about how and why they exist, let alone who created them. To get an even better look at the shapes, take an optional flight over the desert (at your own expense). The light planes can be a bit bumpy, so this activity isn't recommended for those with a weak stomach.
Accommodation
  • Majoro Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nazca Tower entrance fee
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Spend the day travelling to Arequipa. You'll be using a regular bus service fitted with convenient reclining seats. Known as ‘La Ciudad Blanca’ (The White City), Arequipa has been built almost entirely from a white volcanic material called sillar. The city lies in a beautiful valley at the foot of the 5822-metre-high El Misti volcano, a perfectly shaped cone. Arequipa is one of the most beautiful cities in Peru and is a UNESCO heritage site. Its wild surrounds consists of mountains, high altitude deserts, hot springs and canyons.
Accommodation
  • Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a walking tour of this charming city down cobblestone streets to see the cathedrals and the beautiful Santa Catalina Convent. Originally built in 1580, the convent is a maze of high walls decked in flowers and buttressed houses painted in white, brown and blue. You'll also visit the church of La Compañia and the Plaza de Armas, where you can poke around the shops and cafes.
Accommodation
  • Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today drive to the Colca Valley and Colca Canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca is one of the deepest canyons in the world. The journey will take you through the Altiplano (High Plains) where you'll see wild vicunas, domestic llamas and alpacas, as well as stone cairns built by the indigenous people. Stop at the highest point to enjoy views of the landscape and the snowcapped Nevado Ampato in the distance. You may experience some shortness of breath here, but after snapping a few photos, you'll be back in the vehicle descending to a lower altitude in no time. Continue on to the capital of the provence, Chivay, where you'll visit the local hot springs. In the evening, you may wish to see a show of traditional Peruvian dance and music, before spending the night in Chivay.
Accommodation
  • Eco inn or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive through the breathtaking scenery of the Colca Canyon today. Discover the surrounding traditional villages and Inca and pre-Inca terraced fields that have supported agriculture for centuries. Locals roam the area in highly decorative costumes and hats. Stop off at Cruz Del Condor, a viewing point where you can often see Andean condors nesting in the canyon walls. These are some of the largest flying birds in the world. The sight of them soaring above you is truly magnificent. Afterwards, drive back to Arequipa.
Accommodation
  • Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today fly to the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco. Take an afternoon walking tour around fascinating city - a favourite for many visitors to Peru. See the Plaza de Armas with its 17th-century Baroque cathedral, and learn about the fascinating history of the execution of the last Inca king. As you wander the streets and alleys of the city, you'll see that many of Cuzco's colonial and modern buildings are built on foundations of Inca stonework. The comprehensive walking tour will also take you to the city's main squares, the Koricancha Temple and the Coca Museum. Afterwards, enjoy some free time in Cuzco. Perhaps visit the Inca Museum, Religious Art Museum, Church of San Blas or the Santa Catalina Museum.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Coca Museum
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head to the Sacred Valley for a full day of sightseeing today. This area was treasured by the ancients for its climate, fertile land and the sacred Urubamba River. Here you'll see impressive old engineering feats including ruins of aqueducts, irrigation canals and dams. There are imposing terraces and temples dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth).

Next, visit Sacsayhuaman, a stone fortress made of huge stone blocks. This archeological site gives insight into what was a highly advanced Incan society. Move on to the Awana Kancha tourist centre where you'll see adorable llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanacos. Continue through the region to the colourful Pisac market, and then onto Ollantaytambo, a formidable Inca fortress which presents amazing photo opportunities. Spend the night in the Sacred Valley, resting up for the trip to Machu Picchu tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Samanapaq hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before your trip, during the next four days you may: hike the Classic Inca Trail, hike the Inca Quarry Trail or stay in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (6 kilograms maximum).

Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items for the next few days.

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometre marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the ruins of Llactapata, which was burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail. In the evening, set up camp while the cook makes dinner.

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 kilometres long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 kilometres long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3 Train:
For those travellers disinterested in hiking the trail or who are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend a third night.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Inca trail camping or San Agustin Plaza or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, which is only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3 Train:
Today, perhaps use your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Inca trail camping or San Agustin Plaza or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps, which takes you to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the start of the trip. Otherwise, you might like to while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Inca Trail Camping or Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with tourists).

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am this morning along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes. At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning at 5.30 am, take a bus up to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco.

For all trails - after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.

Notes: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy another free day in Cuzco. The oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, there are endless things to do here. Whether you're still feeling energetic or prefer to relax after your Inca trek, Cuzco can accommodate. Perhaps wander the attractive streets, shop for handicrafts, visit museums or catch up on any sightseeing you couldn't fit into your schedule earlier. Be sure to stop in for a drink in one of the traditional local bars known as penas.
Accommodation
  • San Agustin Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by bus today through spectacular Andean scenery to the town of Puno. Along the way, see Inca adobe ruins and stop for lunch in the small town of Sicuani. Continue the drive, taking a break at La Raya, the highest point on the journey and a great opportunity to take photographs. Move on to the town of Juliaca, famous for its lively street dancing, before arriving into Puno. Puno is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. In the evening, you may like to take a little stroll to Calle Lima which is full of bars and restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Casa Andina Tikarani or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today, take an enchanting cruise around Lake Titicaca. Enjoy the mystical scenery that was once venerated as the birthplace of the sun and the Inca people. Stop by the amazing floating Uros islands, manmade islands built from reeds and still home to an indigenous village. The cruise will take you to Taquile Island where you can admire some woollen handicrafts made by the locals. Finally, retire to the private island of Suasi, where you'll spend the night in an eco lodge.
Accommodation
  • Suasi Island Eco lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca tour & Suasi Island feature Stay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel back to Puno this morning and make your way to Sillustani for the afternoon. Here you'll explore the pre-Inca tombs and funeral towers of the Aymara people, towering structures protruding from the rocky landscape. Afterwards, head back to Puno for the night.

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Accommodation
  • Casa Andina Tikarani or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Follow the shores of Lake Titicaca to the Bolivian border at Desaguadero. After completing the immigration and customs formalities, continue your journey into Bolivia. First stop is a visit to the ancient ruins of Tiahuanaco, an eerie archaeological site used by pre-Colombian society as a religious centre. The vast ruins comprise of temples, courtyards, ziggurats, monolithic stone statues and gateways - most famously, the Gateway of the Sun.

From the ruins, make the two-hour drive to La Paz, enjoying spectacular views as you near the city, which lies within the bowl of a volcanic crater. Once you're settled into your hotel, enjoy an orientation tour with a local guide. Visit some of La Paz's unique sites such as the Witches Market, San Francisco Church and the main street of El Prado Avenue downtown. Tonight you'll stay in La Paz.
Accommodation
  • Rosario Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say goodbye to your new friends and leader today as your adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you can leave your accommodation at any time. If you wish to continue your travels in La Paz and Bolivia, we'd be happy to assist in booking further accommodation.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

18 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Bus, Minibus, Plane, Train

Accommodation

Full service camping, Comfortable hotel, Eco Lodge

Included Activities

  • Nazca Tower entrance fee
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
  • Cuzco - Coca Museum
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included)
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Lake Titicaca tour & Suasi Island feature Stay
  • Tiawanaku archaeological site and museum tour

Reviews

Our Best of Peru trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 20 reviews in the last year.

Best of Peru, September 2016

Joe Kosecki

Best of Peru, August 2016

Michael Hopkins

Dates & availability

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Important notes

BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border.
Please see the visa information on these trip notes for more information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.