19 days

Best of Peru

Best of Peru

The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu

Puno - a town four kilometres above sea-level

La Paz - the world's highest 'unofficial' capital city

The potions of 'Witches’ Market'

The colourful market town of Pisac

Tiahuanaco's 'Gateway of the Sun'

The condors of one of the deepest canyons in the world - Colca Canyon

UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco

UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre of the Peruvian capital Lima

The white volcanic 'sillar' architecture and Cathedral of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Arequipa

The towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nazca Lines - gigantic lines, symbols and animal images etched into the ground

The floating reed islands of the Uros people on the highest navigable lake in the world - Lake Titicaca

Trip rating
  • 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.

    Why we love it

    • Get an insider's guide to Peru's enthralling capital on a local-led city tour
    • Learn of the various theories that seek to explain Nazca's perplexing desert etchings
    • Tour the churches, cathedrals and convents that saw to Arequipa's UNESCO World Heritage listing
    • Be romanced by the idyllic village sceneries surrounding Chivay
    • Wander about Machu Picchu's majestically situated ruins
    • Enter an ancient cosmopolis of pyramids, temples and giant stone monoliths in Tiahuanaco


    Day 1-2 - Lima

    • On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores. In the evening you'll meet your tour leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing, which is usually held at 6pm. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the exact time and place of the meeting.
    • This meeting is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try ceviche, Peru’s national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!
    • On the morning of Day 2 you will start your exploration of the Peruvian capital with a City walking tour. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, it was from Lima that all Spanish territories in South America were governed. Few cities at that time could rival Lima’s power, wealth and opulence. However its glory days ended in 1746 when the city was virtually destroyed by an earthquake. Many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and you will get a first-hand look at several of them on the tour. The striking Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas), flanked by some of the most important buildings in town such as the cathedral, the huge Government Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace, constitutes the heart of the city.
    • You will visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains.
    • Next we will visit the Central market where we will take a walking tour. The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer including fruits, vegetables and even Guinea pigs. You will have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food.
    • Next we will visit China town which is close to the Market.
    • The tour will finish in Lima main square, with the option to go for dinner in Down Town or back to Miraflores.
    • In your spare time you might enjoy wandering around around Miraflores, visiting Parque del Amor (Love's Park) where you can enjoy a view aross Lima's beaches, or catching a taxi to visit the Gold Museum or the Larco Museum, which is renowned for its ancient pottery collection. Please remember that you must agree on a fare with the driver before catching a taxi, as the taxis here do not have meters. (Miraflores-Downtown approximately 10-15 soles). You may also want to visit the impressive National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru, which is home to a wonderful collection of cultural exhibits tracing the history, arts and accomplishments of the people of Peru, ranging from the original inhabitants of the land through to the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquerors.
    Antigua Mira Flores or Similar

    Day 3-4 - Lima - Nazca

    • Using the regular deluxe bus service, you will travel 450 kilometres south to Nazca in the Peruvian desert. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC and here, in the dry desert conditions, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well preserved to give archaeologists clear snapshots of this highly developed civilisation.
    • You will visit the viewing platforms of the famous Nazca lines. Etched into the landscape some 22 kilometres north of Nazca are an assortment of perfectly straight lines, trapezoidal zones, strange symbols, images of birds and beasts on a giant scale (you will be able to see 2 or 3 figures)
    • There are many theories about how and why these 'lines' exist, let alone who created them. The forms are so difficult to see from the ground that they were not discovered until the 1930s. Therefore the flight over the Nazca Lines is a great option to consider. This optional tour costs about US$100 per person (price subject to change).
    • Following your stay in Nazca you will take the regular bus service, fitted with reclining seats, to Arequipa.
    Majoro Hotel or similar

    Day 5 - Arequipa

    • Arequipa is known as ‘La Ciudad Blanca’ (The White City) because the buildings have been built almost exclusively from a white volcanic material called 'sillar'. The city lies in a beautiful valley and at the foot of the 5822-metre-high El Misti volcano, a perfectly shaped cone.
    • Arequipa is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. Protected by mountains, its wild surrounding landscape consists of high altitude deserts, hot springs and abyssal canyons.
    • You will visit the cathedral and a walking tour of this charming city will take you down cobblestone streets to the beautifully refurbished Santa Catalina Convent. Originally built in 1580, it is a maze of high walls decked in flowers and buttressed houses painted in the traditional colours of white, brown, and blue.
    • You'll also visit the Jesuit Church (La Compañia), with its intricate façade and incredible artwork, and have time to discover the cafés, shops and arcaded buildings that surround the impressive Plaza de Armas. Along the way, you'll pass by many of the existing historic colonial houses that have helped earned this city a UNESCO World Heritage listing.
    Casa Andina or similar

    Day 6-7 - Colca Canyon - Arequipa

    • Today you'll continue your journey by driving into the Colca Valley and Colca Canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and with an average depth of 3400 metres, this canyon is one of the deepest in the world. During your journey through the 'Altiplano’ (High Plains) you will see grazing wild vicunas, domesticated llamas and alpacas, as well as stone cairns that were built by the indigenous people.
    • You'll stop at the highest point (4910m) to enjoy views of the bleak landscape below and snowcaps on Nevado Ampato (6310m) in the distance. At this point you will feel a little shortness of breath, but after you take some photos, you'll be back in the vehicle descending to a lower altitude. You will continue to Chivay the capital of the provence, and have time to visit the local hot springs.
    • In the evening, you may wish to visit a local 'peñas' to see a show of traditional Peruvian dance and music. You'll stay overnight in Chivay.
    • Unlike most of the Grand Canyon, there are small, picturesque villages dotted around Colca Canyon, near the remarkable Inca and pre-Inca terraced fields, that still support agriculture and human life. It is possible to see many of the locals in their highly decorative traditional dress and hats. You will drive through this stunning scenery, for the opportunity to spot one of the world’s largest flying birds, the Andean condor.
    • From Cruz Del Condor, a view point overlooking the valley, you may see the family of condors that nest in the Canyon walls, soar gracefully above and below you. It is truly a magnificent sight.
    • Later on you will return to Arequipa.
    Casa Andina or similar

    Day 8-10 - Cusco - The Sacred Valley

    • Today you'll fly to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, where you will take an afternoon walking tour to explore this fascinating city.
    • Cusco is a favourite destination of many visitors to Peru. Its main sites radiate outwards from the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the 17th century Baroque cathedral. It was in this very plaza that the Spanish conquistadors put to death the last Inca king, Tupac Amaru. As you wander the streets and side alleys of the city you will witness the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cusco’s colonial and modern buildings.
    • Your comprehensive Walking tour will take you around the Main Squares, Past the Cathedral, Koricancha Temple and a visit to the Coca Museum will be included.
    • In your free time, it is also possible to visit the Inca Museum, Religious Art Museum, Church of San Blas and Santa Catalina Museum.
    • Head to the Sacred Valley for a full day of sightseeing before spending the night there.
    • The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. On your full day tour of the Sacred Valley, you will see evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
    • At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength, the Awana Kancha tourist centre where we see llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco all in the one place, the colourful market town of Pisac and the towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo. The town of Ollantaytambo was built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
    Samanapaq hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 11 - Cusco

    • You will transfer back to Cusco today, where we spend the next two nights.
    • While you are here, you'll have free time to Explore Cusco. You will be able to use your tourist card for many of the sites here. Please speak with your tour leader in regards to which sites can be visited.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar

    Day 12 - Cusco- Aguas Calientes

    • You will take a bus for approximately one and a half hours to Ollantaytambom and then board a one and a half hour train to Aguas Calientes where you will spend the night in a hotel.
    Andina hotel or similar

    Day 13 - Machu Picchu- Cusco

    • Take a very early (5:30am) bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes) where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty.
    • MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters.
    • You will have a guided visit (approximately 1.5-2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco.
    • WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar

    Day 14 - Cusco

    • Today you will have a free day to spend in Cusco. The oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, Cusco is a wonderful place in which to stroll aimlessly or participate in an outdoor activity. If you are feeling energetic there are a myriad of adventures available in and around town.
    • There are plenty of opportunities to shop for handicrafts or wander around the cobblestone streets and visit museums, churches and colonial sites. You may just wish to relax with a 'cerveza' or a 'pisco sour' in one of the restaurants and 'penas' (traditional local bars) surrounding Plaza de Armas.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar

    Day 15 - Cusco- Puno

    • You will travel by bus today to the town of Puno, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at 3810 metres. This scheduled tourist service will take you on good roads initially through some spectacular mountain scenery and you will stop at several sites along the way, including Inca adobe ruins.
    • Lunch is included on a stop in the small town of Sicuani. Along the way you will also make a short roadside stop at La Raya, which at 4335 metres is the highest point on the journey. You will also drive through the large sprawling town of Juliaca on your way to Puno, which is a colourful and lively place renowned for its traditional street dancing, often performed in celebration of Catholic festive days in February each year.
    • An important agricultural centre, Puno is reasonably compact and centred around the pedestrian part of Calle Lima, which is full of restaurants and bars. The town is a launching pad for excursions out on Lake Titicaca whilst on the surrounding plateaus, grazing alpacas and llamas are familiar sights.
    Casa Andina Tikarani or similar

    Day 16-17 - Suasi Island- Puno

    • Be enchanted by the striking scenery and unique cultures on a cruise around Lake Titicaca. Stop by the amazing floating Uros islands which are created entirely from reeds. Then call into Taquile Island for some woollen handicrafts.
    • Day 17 We return to Puno and have an included visit at Sillustani.
    Suasi Island Eco lodge
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 18 - Tiahuanaco - La Paz

    • Peru and Bolivia both share the waters of Lake Titicaca, and today you will follow the shores of the lake to the Bolivian border at Desaguadero. Here you will complete immigration and customs formalities. The journey by road to the Bolivian capital, La Paz, will take you via the ancient ruins of Tiahuanaco and the local museum where you you will take an included tour.
    • This was the base of a great civilisation that began around 500 BC before mysteriously 'disappearing' around 1200 AD. It is believed that the ceremonial complex dates back to the 8th century AD and was once at the centre of a powerful and self-sustaining empire based in the southern Central Andes. The sprawling ruins comprise of temples, courtyards, terraced pyramids, monolithic stone statues and gateways. The most famous structure is the Puerta del Sol (Gateway of the Sun).
    • From the ruins it is less than a two-hour drive to La Paz, where you'll spend the night. You will enjoy spectacular views of the city on your approach, due to its unique location in the middle of a vast volcanic crater that resembles a bowl.
    • Once you're settled into your hotel in La Paz you will be taken on a orientation walking tour of La Paz city with a local guide and of course your tour leader. You will visit some of La Paz's unique sites such as; The Witches Market, San Francisco church and the main street El Prado Ave in Down town.
    Rosario Hotel or similar

    Day 19 - La Paz

    • Your tour will come to an end in La Paz after breakfast.
    Rosario Hotel or similar
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
    • Local flight from Arequipa to Cusco.
    • Sightseeing where mentioned in the trip notes.
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu, including park fees.
    • 2-day excursion to Colca - one of the deepest canyons in the world.
    • Half-day boat excursion on Lake Titicaca, including the floating reed islands of the Uros Indians.
    • Train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.
    • Arrival transfer to the Peregrine joining hotel.
    • Authentic Accommodation: 17 nights comfortable hotel, 1 night Eco lodge
    • Meals: 18 breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 dinner.
    • Entrance to Tiawanaku archaeological site including the museum and a local guide.
    • Tips for services you receive as part of your trip including drivers, specialist local guides, restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff (excluding your tour leader)

    Not Included

    • International flights, airport departure taxes, visas where required, meals not included in the itinerary, insurance, laundry, any optional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
    • Airport departure tax
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips for your Tour Leader
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Best of Peru

    David - Canada, 27 Aug, 2012
    Overall Rating

    This review ismfor,the Bolivia portion of my trip. I reviewed Peru last week. Bolivia is a good destination. Not a lot of tourists go there so it is relatively unspoiled for the serious traveler. It is not expensive so one receives good value for the money.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSBU
Start City: Lima
End City: La Paz
Style: Small Group

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