15 days

Peruvian Wonders

Peruvian Wonders

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

The towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo

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

The colourful market town of Pisac

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

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

Warminwanusca - 'Dead Woman’s Pass' on the Inca Trail

UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco

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

Trip rating
  • Our trip takes us south from Lima through the desert sands and past ancient cemeteries containing the mummified remains of the ancient Nazcans. This intriguing civilisation carved the Nazca Lines – huge geometric patterns and spirals, perfectly straight lines, and animal figures that stretch into the desert. Driving into the Andes we come to the beautiful city of Arequipa, home to the 16th century Santa Catalina Convent. Close to the city is the spectacular Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon on earth. Next stop is Cusco with its magnificent Inca sites, whilst out in the Urubamba Valley, colourful local markets and imposing Inca fortresses await.

    Why we love it

    • The trip takes you south from Lima through the desert sands and past ancient cemeteries containing the mummified remains of the ancient Nazcans.
    • This intriguing civilisation carved the Nazca Lines – huge geometric patterns and spirals, perfectly straight lines, and animal figures that stretch into the desert.
    • Driving into the Andes you come to the beautiful city of Arequipa, home to the 16th century Santa Catalina Convent. Close to the city is the spectacular Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon on earth.
    • Next stop is Cusco with its magnificent Inca sites, whilst out in the Urubamba Valley, colourful local markets and imposing Inca fortresses await.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Lima

    • On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel. You'll meet your tour leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing which is usually held at 2pm. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the location of the meeting.
    • This evening you may want to go out for a group dinner. There are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from for dinner.
    • 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!
    Antigua Mira Flores or Similar

    Day 2 - Paracas

    • You will travel by minivan to Paracas today. You will arrive in the afternoon to a free afternoon. You should take this opportunity to visit the Paracas National Reserve. Covering 335,000 hectares of land and sea, this is considered one of the most integral marine reserves in the world. It works to preserve Peru's marine ecosystems as well as the cultural heritage of the local people.
    • The national park is known for its proliferation of marine birds, in fact, it has the highest concentration of them in any one area in the world. It is also a natural habitat for dolphins and sea lions.
    Posada del Emancipador or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Nazca

    • You will awake early for an excursion to the Ballestas islands. You will first make your way to Paracas' port, where you will board a boat bound for the islands.
    • Often referred to as the Galapagos of Peru, The ballestas Islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. You will have the opportunity to see the wildlife up close on a boat tour of the islands (approximately 1.5-2 hours). Between June and September the port may be closed due to weather conditions, if this is the case, an alternative land tour of the Paracas National Reserve will be arranged.
    • You will be driven in a private van from Paracas to Nazca next. This is a three hour drive, but we may stop at the town of Huacachina on the way. A beautiful town built around a lake amd surrounded by soaring sanddunes.
    • 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 platform 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, referred to as the Nazca lines.
    • 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.
    • To get some perspective on the lines, you can choose to go on a flight tour of the area.The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert. The flight can be bumpy and it is only recommended for those with a strong stomach. There have been safety issues with these flights in the past, so we have done our best to research the best operators in the area to recommend to you. Our tour leaders are prohibited from recommending or booking through any other operators. This optional tour (flight) 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 or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 4-5 - Arequipa

    • Today will be a long day of travel. You will journey to Arequipa by private van, a ten hour trip. It is well worth it though, Arequipa is a beautiful Spanish colonial city, 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.
    • There will be a walking tour arranged with a local guide that will take you to visit the main square, the Santa Catalina Monastery, the San Ignacio Chapel with its colonial mural paintings and the suburb of Yanahuara. Otherwise, relaxing in a cafe in the main plaza is the perfect way to spend your time here.
    Casa Andina or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6-7 - Puno/Lake Titicaca

    • You will travel on to Puno today, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approximately 6 hours drive). You'll stop en route at the Sillustani archaeological site, a collection of ruined towers built by a pre-Inca civilisation near Lake Umayo. The towers are chullpas - funeral towers built to commemorate noble men, and fitted with offerings to help secure their passage into the next life.
    • Puno is situated on Lake Titicaca, and is a fusion of Quechuan Indian and Aymara culture. It is recognosed as the cultural capital of Peru, with an abundance of festivals, music and dancing.
    • You will go on a tour of the lake on a motor boat, visiting the floating islands that are built on totora reeds. In fact everything on these islands are crafted from reed, including their boats which last up to 12 months. You will also visit Taquile Island, a place where knitting is strictly the domain of men, while women are relegated to spinning. This is the place to get your hands on some beautiful knitwear.
    • You will hike uphill for an hour to reach the main part of the island. It has great views across the lake. There will be an optional lunch here as well, with a simple set menu of quinoa soup and muna tea (Andean mint tea). You will return down 500 steps to the boat that will take you on the three hour journey back to Puno, before enjoying a group dinner tonight.
    Taypikala hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8-9 - Cusco

    • 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 through some spectacular mountain scenery and you will stop at several sites along the way, including Inca adobe ruins.
    • Lunch will be 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 your journey.
    • 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.
    • Your comprehensive Walking tour will take you around the Main Squares, Cathedral, Koricancha Temple and a visit to the Coca Museum included. (Cathedral and Koricancha are not 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.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo

    • You will drive on to the Sacred Valley on a private bus today.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • You will visit a local community here, to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand painted beads and ponchos. You will enjoy lunch with the local community.
    • Next you will head to the town of Ollantaytambo. 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 and the upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
    • You will leave the majority of your luggage in Cusco while you spend time in Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, be sure to bring a small backpack that you can pack with necessary goods for the days ahead.
    Samanapaq hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 11 - Aguas Calientes

    • Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machi Picchu, your destination today will be Aguas Calientas. You will travel by train for 90 minutes through the winding Urubamba Valley to reach town, where you can spend some free time exploring the natural hot springs after which the town was named.
    Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 12-13 - 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 2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 14-15 - Lima

    • Fly from Cuzco back to Lima (approx 1 hr).
    • Once settled into your hotel in Lima you will start your exploration of the Peruvian capital with a half-day city 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.
    • This will be followed by a visit to China town, which is nearby the Market.
    • The tour will finish in Lima main square, with the option to go for dinner in downtown or back to Miraflores.
    • In your spare time you might enjoy wandering around Miraflores, visiting Parque del Amor (Love's Park) where you can enjoy a view across 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.
    • There are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from for dinner. 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!
    • There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
    Antigua Mira Flores or Similar
    Breakfast
  • 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.
    • Arrival transfer to Peregrine's joining hotel.
    • Transport.
    • Sightseeing where mentioned in the trip notes.
    • Entrance and park fees.
    • Authentic Accommodation: 14 nights comfortable hotel.
    • Meals: 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner.
    • Flight from Cusco to Lima.
    • Guided tour of Machu Tour.

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure tax
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature

    Safety Information

    For safety reasons, we strongly recommend that during transfers in Lima all of your luggage, including hand luggage and valuables, is stored out of sight in the rear boot of the vehicle

  • Map Itinerary

  • 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.

    Peruvian Wonders

    Peter - Australia, 1 Feb, 2104
    5
    Overall Rating

    I feel that this tour gave me a good idea about Peru's history, culture & geography. While some of the distances travelled were a bit oppressive (understandable given the size of the country) it certainly explained regional differences.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSPW
Start City: Lima
End City: Lima
Style: Small Group

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