Exploring Peru

♦ Start: Lima
♦ Finish: Lima

Peru is as complex as its most intricate and exquisite weavings and is the molten core of South America. Visitors pilgrimage to the glorious Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, yet this feted site is just a flash in a 5,000-year history of peoples. Visit the Sacred Valley, tucked under the tawny skirts of formidable foothills and fly over the puzzling geoglyphs etched into the arid earth at Nazca. Lima’s great museums reveal in full detail the sophistication, skill and passion of these lost civilizations. Visit remote communities and see how old ways live on. Immerse yourself, and you will leave Peru a little closer to the past.


13 nights/ 14 days

Physical Rating


Hiking, Kayaking, Dune Buggy, Sandboarding, Culinary

Places Visited

Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Lake Titicaca, Paracas, Ballestas Islands, Huacachina, Nazca


  • Guided walking tour of Cusco ruins of Sacayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pucapucara, and Q’enko.
  • Hiking at the Pisac Ruins followed by lunch.
  • Take a train surrounded entirely by glass with large panoramic windows to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu.
  • Enjoy a full day guided tour of Machu Picchu with the option of climbing Huayna Picchu, named one of the 20 most dangerous hikes in the world by Outside Magazine.
  • Kayak at Lake Titicaca and visit the Uros floating isles, where we’ll visit the Uros people who live on floating reed islands, some only 20 meters in length!
  • Enjoy a food tour in Lima, considered to be one of the food capitals of the world.
  • Take a boat ride to the incredible Ballestas Islands archipelago, often compared to the Galapagos Islands, and witness such birdlife as blue-footed boobies, Humboldt penguins, and a multitude of marine birds as well as South American sea lions and other mammals.
  • Get ready for an incredible adventure exploring the desert sand dunes at fast speeds in a dune buggy and then go sandboarding!
  • Take a flight over the Nazca and Palpa Lines and witness something only a handful of travelers have had the privilege of seeing.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health.
  • There’s a lot of walking involved, and if you opt to climb Huayna Picchu, the hiking can be strenuous. This trip is recommended for those with an average level of fitness, who feel comfortable being active approximately 3-5 hours a day.
  • Our visit to the desert of Huacachina will have us riding in dune buggies on the sand dunes at fast speeds, so a sense of adventure and some good humor are recommended.
  • Due to the remote locations we visit, there are a few long drives on this trip. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery and spend some time getting to know the other members of your group.
  • Accommodations on this trip are either twin or multi share in 3-4 star hotels that are locally owned and centrally located. Single travelers will share a room with other travelers of the same sex, unless you’d like to pay extra to have your own room. At Lake Titicaca, our accommodations are rustic.


You are free to arrive in Lima at any time. There are no planned activities so you are free to explore the city at your leisure. Lima is the capital and the largest city in Peru. It is in the central, coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The city is home to excellent museums, archaeological sites, beaches, the boardwalk, valleys, natural reserves, and nightlife. Though its colonial center is well preserved, today Lima is a bustling metropolis that’s one of South America’s largest cities. It’s known for its vibrant food scene, encompassing specialties from ceviche and traditional coastal cooking to refined global fare.

Overnight at Casa Andina Classic Lima or similar


Cusco (B)

This morning, we’ll board a plane for a short flight across the Andes Mountains to Cusco (often spelled Cuzco) . Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel where you can start acclimating to being at 11,000 ft elevation in this beautiful city. This site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th into the 16th century until the Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In the afternoon, we’ll take a walking tour of Cusco city and it’s archaeological and historical sites.

— Domestic flight from Lima to Cusco
— Walking tour of Cusco
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Andina or similar


Cusco Ruins, the Sacred Valley & Pisac Ruins (B, L)

Today, we’ll head out of Cusco to visit the main Inca ruins in the Cusco valley. We’ll visit Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pucapucara, and Q’enco. Leaving early by vehicle, we wind our way on the road to Sacsayhuaman, a vast fortress built on three platforms, overlooking the city of Cusco. From here we continue to Q’enco, a site of worship with a high rock carved into the shape of a Puma which dominates a series of canals, passageways painted with animals. The road continues uphill to reach Pucapucara and Tambomachay, a site with Inca baths. From here, we descend to the Sacred Valley overlooking the Pisac village and ruins, our first view of this beautiful Valley that runs from east to west.

The Spanish built the present-day town of Pisac along the Urubamba River half a century after the conquest, but the surviving terraces of it predecessor, Inca Pisac, are still draped across the mountains above. The signature terraces — stacked 40 high — are visible throughout much of the switch-backed drive from the market. The buildings are scattered nearly two square miles of the slope, and include fortifications, aqueducts, granaries, homes, and ceremonial spaces. A road takes us up to the ruins of Pisac where we will do a short hike over to the main temple and extended terracing before heading down to the village for lunch.

After lunch, we’ll head back to Cusco and spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the city.

— Guided tour & entrance fee at Cusco Ruins, the Sacred Valley & Pisac ruins
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Overnight at Casa Andina or similar


Free Day in Cusco (B)

Today is at your leisure. There is so much to see and do in Cusco that we dedicate a whole day to doing just that. Whether your’re interested in exploring more Inca ruins, visiting Colonial churches, bargain hunting in Indian markets or just relaxing over a cappuccino on a terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas, Cusco has it all.

Optionally, you may choose to make this an active day by going whitewater rafting, mountain biking, climb the Via Ferrata and zipline down, or horseback riding. For the foodies, you might also consider the option of going morning shopping for groceries with a chef, who will prepare a noon meal for you in his home! You’ll learn about local ingredients and also have the opportunity to buy them. Interact with local producers and suppliers, a whole experiential sojourn in a traditional Andean market. Then the chef will invite you to his home for a private culinary lesson, starting with the preparation of the famous Pisco Sour and moving on to some entrees and main courses. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with the chef and really get the most out of this culinary lesson. It’s a real authentic experience!

— Meals: Breakfast

Optional Activities
Whitewater Rafting
Mountain Biking
Horseback Riding
Cooking Lesson
Via Ferrata Rock Climbing, Zipline & Sky Lodge

Overnight at Casa Andina or similar


Cusco/ Train to Aguas Calientes (B)

Early this morning, you’ll board the Vistadome train which is surrounded entirely by glass and wagons with large panoramic windows offering incomparable scenic views and opportunities to capture some amazing pictures. This is the perfect transportation for your journey to Machu Picchu.

You’ll arrive in Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, the town that lies in a deep gorge below the ruins. A virtual island, it’s cut off from all roads and enclosed by stone cliffs, towering cloud forest, and two rushing rivers. Upon arrival, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore the city.

— Vistadome Train to Aguas Calientes
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Waman Hotel or similar


Full day tour of Machu Picchu with the option to climb Huayna Picchu/ return to Cusco (B, L)

Today is dedicated to exploring Machu Picchu’s extraordinary Inca remains with our guide, including an optional climb up Huayna Picchu, the towering mountain behind the site. For many people, climbing Huayna Picchu is one of the highlights when visiting Machu Picchu. The climb itself is interesting as you will see how the Incas cut out steps in the rocks as you wind around the side of a mountain. It will also allow you to see Machu Picchu from different angles. From a distance, the mountain looks impossible to climb without necessary tools, but the climb is quite possible for anyone who is averagely fit. The views of Machu Picchu seen from Huayna Picchu are breathtaking and give you an impression of the magnitude of the site.

In the afternoon, we’ll return by Expedition train to Cusco and transfer to our hotel. If we have any energy left, we can explore Cusco’s excellent nightlife. With a vast abundance of nightclubs, restaurants, bars and lounges, Cusco comes alive at night with the sights, sounds and experiences of a most fascinating, vibrating metropolis.

— Full day guided tour of Machu Picchu
— Expedition train to Cusco
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Optional Activities
Climb Huayna Picchu

Overnight at Casa Andina or similar


Bus ride Cusco to Puno (B)

This morning, we’ll have an early morning departure for our bus ride to Lake Titicaca. We’ll travel six hours by bus from Cusco to Puno. Along the way, our guide will offer cultural information, history, geology and other tidbits about Peru.

We’ll stop for guided tours at four interesting sites along the way:

  • First stop is Andahuaylillas, for a guided tour of San Pedro Church, the Sistine Chapel of South America. This church is a beautiful Spanish colonial church and one of the most beautiful examples of Andean popular religious art.
  • Next, we’ll have a guided visit of the Inca ruins at Raqchi (Wiracocha God Temple). This was an Inca church of monumental dimensions; 100 meters long, 26 meters wide and 14 meters high. The temple is divided in two naves and each naves shows 11 giant columns.
  • In the afternoon, we’ll stop at La Raya, the halfway point between Cusco and Puno and also the highest mountain pass (4335 meters above sea level). The landscape here is stunning and typical Andean animals like the llama, alpaca and vicuna are common. It is also the geographic border between two cultures: Quechua and Aymara.
  • Our last stop will be at Pukara, the most important and oldest ceremonial center of the altiplano. There are interesting lite-sculptures and tombs and the museum specializes in pre-Inca artifacts.

We should arrive in Puno around 5pm, where you’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore the city.

— Bus to Lake Titicaca
— Guided tour of San Pedro Church at Andahuaylillas
— Stop at Inca Ruins of Raqchi
— Stop at La Raya
— Stop at Pukara
— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated travel time: 6 hours
Overnight at
 Casa Andina Classic Puno Tikarani or similar


Kayaking at Lake Titicaca (B, L, D)

Leaving early from Puno, we enter the road to Llachon at Illpa, passing the villages of Huata and Coata. Here we continue along the peninsula of CapaChica, arriving at the village of the same name. The road follows the lake shore at this point and we pass two communities until we reach the village of Llachon, our embarkation point. After a short briefing we’ll receive the appropriate safety equipment and embark on our three to four hour sea kayaking adventure. We’ll paddle along the coast of Taquile. On arrival, we disembark, have lunch, and spend the rest of the day exploring the island.

We’ll spend the night at a local family lodge overlooking the lake, with beautiful views of the Cordillera Real.

— Kayaking at Lake Titikaka (3-4 hours)
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Overnight at a Family Lodge (rustic)


Uros Floating Isles/ Fly to Lima (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we proceed to explore the coastline of the island by kayak and then head across the open water again returning to our starting point. We’ll stop at Uros floating isles, where we’ll visit the Uros people who live on floating reed islands, some only 20 meters in length!

Upon arrival in Llachon, we’ll have a nice dinner at a local’s home with a magical view before departing for the airport. We’ll take the night flight back to Lima, arriving at approximately 11pm and will then be transferred to our hotel.

— Kayaking at Lake Titicaca
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Overnight at Casa Andina Classic Lima or similar


Lima (B, L)

Lima is considered one of the food capitals of the world and today you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of the delicacies it has to offer, as well as learn about the city and its history. We’ll make five stops, starting at a local roastery where they hand-pick the coffee beans daily for an organic Peruvian coffee. We will also try an exotic fruit smoothie made from lucuma at a garden cafe. From here, we’ll visit a traditional market in the San Isidro district to try exotic fruits and local products and learn the ancient myths and legends associated with them. The third stop is one of the city’s top seafood restaurants (cebicheria) where we’ll discover the secrets to the perfect Cebiche and Pisco Sour as you prepare the dish and cocktail yourself with the head chef and bartender. The last stop is for lunch at a restaurant within a pre-Incan archaeological complex. You’ll enjoy a variety of gourmet Peruvian dishes as well as four different desserts and another pisco-based cocktail.

— Lima Food Tour
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Overnight at Casa Andina Classic Lima or similar


Lima/ Paracas/ Huacachina w/ Dune Buggy & Sandboarding Tour (B)

Today, we will have a very early morning pickup for our journey to Paracas, located just a few hours from Lima. Paracas is where the desert and the sea come together in spectacular landscapes.

We’ll travel through the beautiful Ica Valley and the vineyards that produce Pisco, the national drink of Peru, on our way to the Paracas National Reserve. The reserve is a saline desert formed in the place of an ancient ocean and it is home to one of the largest sea-lion colonies in the world as well as numerous birds, including the pink flamingo.

Here, we’ll board a boat to the incredible Ballestas Islands archipelago, often compared to the Galapagos Islands, on a smaller scale. The Ballestas Islands are a group of small islands composed largely of rock formations and are an important sanctuary for such birdlife as blue-footed boobies, Humboldt penguins, and a multitude of marine birds as well as South American sea lions and other mammals.

We’ll also get to see our first geoglyph, the Paracas Candelabra, also called the Candelabra of the Andes. It is a large drawing of a chandelier carved on the side of the sand dunes. Pottery found nearby has been dated to somewhere around 600-200 B.C.

This afternoon, we’ll step things up a notch at the desert oasis, Huacachina. This is one of the driest places on earth with gigantic sand dunes and the perfect place for dune buggies and sandboarding! We’ll ride deep into the desert at fast speeds to see the huge sand dunes on the coast. These ancient mountains of sand are beautiful, surreal and mesmerizing. A tour into the desert feels like an “out of this world” experience, almost like visiting the surface of another planet.

We’ll also try sandboarding, which is like snowboarding, but on the fine-grained sand of the desert. You can also just lay on your stomach on the board and go “sand sledding.” This is faster, lots of fun, and doesn’t require any patience or ability.

At the end of the day, we’ll arrive at Nazca and probably go straight to bed, tired from a full day of fun and activities.

— Bus transportation from Lima to Paracas National Reserve to Huacachina to Nazca
— Boat tour to Ballestas Islands/ Paracas Candelabra
— Dune Buggy and Sandboarding Tour at Huacachina
— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated travel time:
Overnight at Casa Andina Classic Nazca or similar


Nazca and Palpa Lines (B)

Today, we’ll get to see something only a handful of travelers have had the privilege of seeing, the mysterious Nazca and Palpa Lines. These ancient geoglyphs were created 2,500 years ago and can only be seen by aircraft. During the 50-minute flight we’ll see twelve of the world-famous Nazca Lines and seven Palpa Lines.

The Nazca lines that we will see include the monkey, dog, whale, tree, hands, “astronaut”, hummingbird and spider, among others. The Palpa Lines were discovered much later than the Nazca Lines and are not as famous, but every bit as fantastic: there are many humans that appear in the Palpa Lines, including an entire family.

— Flight over Nazca and Palpa Lines
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Andina Classic Nazca or similar


Nazca/ Lima (B)

Today, we will travel by bus back to Lima. This evening, we’ll enjoy our last night exploring the colonial streets of the bohemian district of Barranco, home to artists, musicians, and the city’s top art galleries.

— Bus transportation from Nazca to Lima
— Meals: Breakfast

Estimated travel time:
Overnight at Casa Andina Classic Lima or similar


Lima/ Departure (B)

Today is departure day and there are no scheduled activities. At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the US or to your next destination.

— Meals: Breakfast

2018 Dates & Pricing

Gather your favorite people to share this adventure on the dates of your choice.  Pricing available for individuals and 10% discount for groups of 8+!

***Pricing Available Upon Request***

All prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double occupancy.

NOTE: All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

Not finding what you’re looking for? We can tailor your adventure to fit your travel style, time frame, budget, and interests. From different styles of lodging to your favorite adventure activities, we’ll create the best custom itinerary for you. Feel free to call one of our travel specialists for information on custom trips. Let us plan your next adventure of a lifetime!

Request a Custom Itinerary

13 nights hotel/ 1 night rustic family lodge All meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner)
Bilingual, certified guides All transfers listed in the itinerary
Domestic flight from Lima to Cusco Half-Day Cusco Walking Tour
Half-Day Athens Sightseeing Tour Guided tour of Cusco Ruins
Vistadome Train to Aguas Calientes Expedition train to Cusco
Full day guided tour of Machu Picchu 2-Day Kayaking at Lake Titicaca
Lima Food Tour Boat tour to Ballestas Islands/ Paracas Candelabra
Dune Buggy and Sandboarding Tour at Huacachina Flight over Nazca and Palpa Lines
Guided tour of San Pedro Church at Andahuaylillas, Inca Ruins of Raqchi, La Raya, and Pukara
Airfare to/from Lima (LIM) Airport taxes & excess baggage fees
Travel Insurance Beverages & meals not specified
Personal Expenses Gratuities
Optional Activities
Sunset Over Cusco
lake titicaca
uros isles
dune buggy
lima food tour
palpa lines
Paracas National Reserve
Pisco sour class