From Peru’s capital and “City of Kings” Lima you travel down the coast watching penguins and sea lions at the Ballestas Islands, relaxing at the Oasis Huacachina in the middle of the desert of Ica and visiting the mysterious Nazca lines. Your journey continues to the charming white city Arequipa and the nearby Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world. From Arequipa you head towards the impressive Lake Titicaca, visiting its floating islands of the Uros and (optional) staying with an indigenous family at Amantani island. From Lake Titicaca you continue your journey through the Andes to Peru’s capital of the Incas – Cusco. Here you will emerge into the ancient Inca culture, visiting Cusco’s main archaeological sites, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and finally to the highlight of your Peru visit: Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world! If desired, you can add a jungle trip or a visit of Northern Peru to your travel plan.
Welcome to Peru! A personal driver will wait for you at Jorge Chávez International Airport and take you to your hostel in Lima’s charming quarter Miraflores. After a little information talk about the next days you will check into your room and have the rest of the day to relax or have a first look around town. Miraflores is a safe quarter located at the coast of Lima so you can without worrying take a walk on the “Malecon” (the beautiful seafront), visit the center of Miraflores and its “Parque Kennedy” (the central park) or have a delicious lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurants. The neighboring quarter Barranco is also worth a visit!
Today you will explore Lima with a guided city tour. You will be picked up at approx. 10:00 am and head towards the center of Lima. Here you will have a walk through the historical center with its impressive colonial buildings and squares such as the “Paseo de la Republica”, “San Martín” square, the main square “Plaza Mayor”, the government palace, the archbishop palace and the cathedral. You will visit the San Francisco Monastery, a beautiful building that hosts one of the most important collections of religious colonial art of America and descend into its gloomy catacombs below the monastery. You will also get to know modern Lima, visiting the quarters El Olivar de San Isidro, Miraflores and Larcomar. In Miraflores, After the tour you are free to explore more of Miraflores, Barranco or the City Center.
A driver will pick you up at around 3:30 am and take you to the bus station where you board a comfortable tourist bus. You travel down South along the coast on the Panamerican highway to the city of Ica (approx. 4 hours in the morning at around 8:00 am we will walk towards the harbor of Paracas, located approx. 1,5 hours from Ica. Here you will board a small motor boat taking you to the Ballestas Islands approx. 30 minutes from the coast. Here you can observe Humboldt penguins, sea lions, cormorants, Peruvian boobies and other sea-birds from a very short distance. On your way back to the dock you will also see the so-called “Candelabra”, a mysterious symbol that was carved into the face of the cliff by an unknown civilization.
Here you will be picked up at the bus station and be taken straight to the oasis Huacachina in the middle of the desert of Ica. You will have time to relax at the hostel pool between sand dunes and palm trees, have lunch in one of the restaurants around the small oasis, take a little walk through the desert or climbing up one of in the afternoon around 15:00 pm you will be picked up for a thrilling and beautiful adventure: an experienced driver will take you at high speed deep into the desert and dunes around the oasis in a so-called sand buggy. You will stop at various points to contemplate the beautiful scenery and enjoy the sunset within the desert. Adventurous travelers are invited to try sandboarding, sliding down the dunes on special sand boards. You spend the night at your hotel by the Oasis.
You will continue your journey. You will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the bus station where you take another comfy tourist bus to Nazca (approx. 2 hours). Your driver will be waiting for you at the bus station and take you to your hotel where you will spend the night.
Today you will observe the mysterious Nazca lines – one of Peru’s most famous highlights! The gigantic figures scratched into the ground of the Nazca desert are an ancient mystery that remains unexplained until today. Our tour includes visiting different viewpoints from where you can see around 10 figures. After the tour you have some free time before we pick you up and take you to the bus station where you take the night bus at around 10:00pm to Arequipa (9,5 hours). Again you will travel with a comfortable tourist bus sleeping seats, service on board, hot drinks and a blanket.
*OPTIONAL: Flight over the Nazca LinesThe best way to experience the Nazca lines is with a flight in a small airplane with large windows, but this depends on your budget. Let us know if you prefer the flight or the “traditional” viewpoint tour.
Free morning to rest after a long travel and bus overnight, You arrive in Arequipa at around 07:30am in the morning and will be picked up and taken to your hostel in the city center. You’ll have some time to relax and explore the city on your own. At around 2:00pm in the afternoon we pick you up for a walking tour through the “White City” (we prefer the walking tour to the “traditional” panoramic bus tour that most agencies offer). With your tour guide you walk through the small charming streets of the historical center, visit the main square “Plaza de Armas” with its beautiful Jesuit church “La Compañía” and the colonial building “La Casona Tristan del Pozo”. You will also visit the Santa Catalina Monestary, a beautiful monastery with its narrow alleys full of flowers, colorful walls and its many rooms with original ancient furniture. The city tour ends in the center and you will have more time for your own explorations or a nice dinner.
We’ll pick you up between 7:30 and 8:00am in the morning and start traveling through breathtaking landscapes towards the Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world. We pass the impressive volcano Chachani and stop at the Pampa Cañahuas National Reserve, home to the beautiful Andean camelids called Vicuñas and a variety of birds such as flamencos. We pass the crater of the Chucura volcano and stop at the highest point of our journey at 4800m, the volcano viewpoint to contemplate the amazing view of the “Cordillera Cccidental”. We continue our journey into the canyon and at approx. 1:30 to 2:00pm arrive to the village Chivay in the middle of the canyon where you check into your hotel. Here, you have some time to walk around, visit the traditional village and have lunch. In the afternoon we will take you to the hot springs “La Calera” (water temperature between 35º and 38º).
After an early breakfast you will be picked up at around 6:30am in the morning and head towards the “Cruz del Condor”, a strategical viewpoint that shows you a magical view of the Canyon and the perfect spot to observe the flight of the majestic condor, Peru’s national bird with a wingspan up to incredible 3 meters. We continue our tour through the Colca Canyon, visiting the small villages Pinchollo, Maca and Yanque with its beautiful colonial churches and stopping at different viewpoints to enjoy the view. Returning to Chivay, you have time to have lunch before you’ll be picked up and start your journey by bus towards Puno. The journey takes about 6 hours. You will stop at different viewpoints again and arrive in Puno at around 07:30pm. You’ll be picked up from the bus station and taken to your hostel where you spend the night at almost 4000m above sea level close to Lake Titicaca.
We pick you up in the morning and take you to the harbor of Puno. Here, you will get on a boat and start your tour on the Lake Titicaca. During the journey you can enjoy the amazing view of the deep blue, huge lake from the panoramic deck of the boat. Your first stop will be the floating islands of the Uros, a group of small islands that are entirely made off reed. The inhabitants of the islands, the community of the Uros, have preserved their traditional lifestyle since hounded of years. You will have some time to visit one of the islands, learn about the culture of the Uros and (depending on which island you stop, the Uros have an established rotation system for the visit) take a ride in a traditional reed boat (optional). After visiting the Uros, you will continue your journey by boat to visit the remote island Taquile, a beautiful island with ancient Inca terraces. Again, the inhabitants still live a very traditional lifestyle and visitors are asked to respect the rules and norms while visiting the island. That’s why your guide will explain to you some rules (such as not taking photos without asking and not giving sweets to the children) before entering the island. On the island you will make a little walk to the main square where the locals will receive you and take you to their houses for lunch and you will enjoy a nice typical meal such as trout with rice and potatoes and a delicious soup. During or after lunch your guide will show and explain you more about the culture of the Taquile and show you the traditional clothes they wear which actually show the marital status of each inhabitant. After that you will have some more time on the island before returning to Puno.
Today, you will continue your journey through the Andes along the “Sun Route”: in a comfortable tourist bus you will travel to Cusco – a nice ride through picturesque landscapes. Along the way you will stop at different points of interest: you will visit the colonial town Pukara and its museum and stop for some amazing photos at the “La Raya” pass on 4300m. You’ll enjoy a delicious typical lunch in Sicuany and continue to the Inca ruins of Raqchi to visit the Wirachocha temple. Your last stop before arriving to Cusco will be the village Andahuaylillas, where you will visit its church, also known as the “Sixtine Chapel of the Americas” due to its impressive arts. You will arrive in Cusco around 5:00pm in the afternoon. We’ll pick you up at the bus station and take you to your hostel in the charming quarter San Blas in the historical center of Cusco. Your VIVA PERU travel advisor will be waiting there to welcome you so you will finally personally get to know each other.
In the morning you will have some free time to have a first look around Cusco: visit the charming quarter San Blas, famous for its crafts and arts stores and gallerys, the historical center with its ancient Inca stone walls, narrow streets and colonial buildings, churches and museums. In San Blas and the center you find a variety of local restaurants to enjoy a typical Peruvian lunch and lots of nice small cafes. At around 1:00pm we will pick you up at your hostel (optional you can also wait at the Cathedral at “Plaza de Armas”, you will coordinate that with your travel advisor the day before). At around 2:00pm you will start your guided tour through Cusco, the capital of the Incas, with a local tour guide. You will first visit the impressive cathedral on the main square “Plaza de Armas” and then walk through some of Cusco’s oldest Inca streets to the “Qoricancha” temple, also called the temple of the sun. This extraordinary building is one of the most important examples for the clash between Inca and Colonial culture, as the Spanish built their Catholic monastery upon the remains of the ancient Inca temple. After visiting the temple, you will hop on a small bus that will take you the archaeological zone in the upper part of Cusco. Here, you can find one of the most important Inca ruins of Peru: Sacsayhuaman, an extended archaeological complex with huge stone walls and a lot of mysteries. You also visit the ceremonial center of Qenqo, the small ruins of Puka Pukara and the water temple Tambomachay. You’ll return to the city center in the late afternoon / early evening.
The Sacred Valley is a beautiful valley with picturesque landscapes and small charming villages located between Cusco and Machu Picchu. We will pick you up at around 8:00am in the morning and travel to the valley, our first stop being the village of Pisac. Here, we will visit one of the most extended archaeological complex of Peru located on the top of the hill. Then we’ll stop in the city center for a visit of the colorful market where people from the valley sell their handmade textiles, pottery, paintings, jewelry and food. After a little shopping tour we continue our journey through the valley to the town Urubamba where a delicious lunch buffet is waiting for you. On a full stomach we continue approx. 1 hour to Ollantaytambo, a beautiful traditional village that hosts other Inca ruins worth visiting. Finishing the tour, you have to walk approx. 10 minutes to the train station of Ollantaytambo to catch the train leaving to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). Arriving in Aguas Calientes (the journey by train takes approx. 1,5 hours), we will pick you up at the train station and take you to your hostel where you’ll have another short briefing about your Machu Picchu tour the next day. NOTE: Instead of traveling to Machu Picchu by train, you can go with a multi-day trekking like the famous Inca Trail or an alternative trekking such as the Salkantay Trek or Inca Jungle Trail.*
Excited?! Today you will visit Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World! Early in the morning you start your little hike up to the main entrance of Machu Picchu. We recommend taking the first tour at 6:00am, which implies starting your walk up at around 4:30am. Optional, you can take the first bus leaving at 5:30am (however, you will have to line at around 4:30am as well in order to catch the very first bus). If you don’t want to get up that early, you can chose one of the later tours (you will coordinate that at the briefing the night before). With your local guide you will explore the massive Inca city built on top of the mountain in the middle of the jungle. You will visit its terraces, temples, houses and palaces and learn about Machu Picchu’s history, the life of the Incas living here, the discovery of this magic place and much more. After the tour which takes about 2 – 2,5 hours you will have time for your own explorations and can basically stay the whole day at Machu Picchu (we recommend taking snacks with you and enjoy your lunch inside of the complex). In the afternoon, you walk down or take the bus (optional) back to Aguas Calientes where you have some more time to pick up your luggage at the hostel, grab some food and then take your train back to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. In Ollantaytambo you’ll be picked up and travel back to Cusco in a small tourist van arriving at night.
Enjoy your last day in Cusco, today we will transfer you to the airport, hour to confirm with your travel advisor.