Tour the best Peru has to offer on this 16 day holiday traveling along the desert coast, up to the altiplano and down to jungle clad ruins. From your first sip of a Pisco Sour to your last cup of corn chicha, you're sure to be charmed by the smiles, laughter and generosity of this Andean country. This tour of Peru includes the countries greatest highlights -- the Nazca Lines, Colca Canyon, the islands of Lake Titicaca, and the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu.
View sea lion colonies lounging on rocks in the Ballestas Islands
Take a short flight for a bird's eye view of the Nazca lines
Explore the deepest canyon in the world, Colca Canyon
Visit the floating islands of the Uros people on Lake Titicaca
Arrive to Lima on the flight of your choice today. After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, walk across the street to the comfortable and conveniently located Wyndham Costa del Sol Hotel. Settle into your room and rest up for your Peru tour ahead.
Walk across the street to the airport in Lima for your domestic flight to Arequipa. A driver will meet you upon arrival and take you to your hotel to drop off your luggage.
Located 7750 feet above sea level and surrounded by snowy peaks, Arequipa delights visitors with its colonial charm and friendly inhabitants. Along with your guide, visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, a 4.5 acre maze of gardens, plazas, and churches in the town center. People watch in the main plaza, discover local markets, and track down some authentic Peruvian cuisine. Your guide will help you explore this beautiful city at your own pace.
Depart Arequipa early this morning for the deepest canyon in the world. The drive to Colca Canyon takes you back in time, past herds of llamas and alpacas and through 400-year old colonial towns where residents raise potatoes and tend sheep according to the rising and setting of the sun. During your two nights in the canyon at the Colca Lodge, take ample time to relax in the hot springs! While here, visit the Cruz del Condor where you'll have your best chance to see the Andean condor.
After breakfast transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approximately 5-6 hours). Feel free to make short stops for photos and village visits along the way. Arrive at mystical Lake Titicaca in the early afternoon. Legend has it that the first Inca rose out of its azure waters. Transfer to your hotel and explore on your own this afternoon.
Depart this morning with your guide to see the floating islands of the Uros people. Peru's floating islands are built using the buoyant totora reeds that grow along Lake Titicaca, and these reeds are interwoven to make homes, boats, and crafts.
We continue to Amantani Island, a quiet island known for its hilltop ruins that honor Pachamama and Pachatata (Mother and Father Earth). Here we meet our host families whose generosity is apparent with their open arms (and open doors to their homes) and smiles. Explore this island with your guide and then settle in to share a short day in the lives of the Aymara.
After breakfast and bidding farewell to your host family, travel to Taquile Island. Climb the steps to the plaza at the center of the island for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
In the afternoon, return to Puno and relax this evening on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
This morning, journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. The Sacred Valley often becomes one of the highlights of your trip and you will soon see why! You'll test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may also hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo where you can relax for the night.
Day 10: Ollantaytambo Ruins | Train to Machu Picchu
In the morning, visit the under-rated ruins of Ollantaytambo before the larger groups of tourists arrive. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo served as a royal estate and later a refuge after the Spanish conquered Cusco. The ruins feature expansive terraces, giant building blocks and well-preserved architecture. Even the town itself is still laid out as it was during the Inca empire, allowing its visitors to glimpse the history which still exists within its boundaries.
Board the train late this morning and follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu, Peru. After checking into your hotel and enjoying lunch in Aguas Calientes, enter Machu Picchu and begin exploring this amazing site - the former retreat of Inca kings. Walk along ancient canals that still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After walking amongst the massive complex of ruins, receiving a guided tour of Machu Picchu, you'll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.
Day 11: Free Day at Machu Picchu | Return to Cusco
Today you can return to the ruins at Machu Picchu for further exploration. Depending on your preference in permits, return early with the hope to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu or arrive in time to hike to the top of Huaynapicchu for incredible views of the entire area. Other options within the citadel include the ability to walk the relatively easy routes to the Sun Gate or the Temple of the Moon. Alternatively, just walk among the vast expanse of ruins and listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants. (This basic re-entry permit is included in the cost of this tour. Further permits may require additional costs.)
Once you've had your time in the ruins, return to Aguas Calientes to catch an afternoon train toward Cusco. Settle into your hotel or head out on a famous Cusco culinary adventure.
Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. Travelers can go on a city tour of the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of SUVs). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged.
Travelers will also have the opportunity to visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, you will visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife.
Referred to as a Little Galapagos, this morning you'll depart by boat to the Ballestas Islands. Sea lion colonies lounge on the rocks and thousands of sea birds (such as Guanay Cormorants and Peruvian Boobies) circle overhead and strut along the rocky shoreline. After your island visit, it's off to the giant sand dunes of Paracas National Reserve for a bit of hiking.
Transfer directly from the Paracas bus station to the airport this morning for your flight over the Nazca Lines or wait for the others on the ground. These mysterious lines date back to the Nazca period, between 900 BC and 600 AD. The images of the monkey, hummingbird and lizard are so large that they can only be fully viewed from the air. After you are back on ground, return to Lima by bus and enjoy a night's rest in your hotel.
*If weather does not permit for flights in the morning, they can be scheduled for later in the afternoon.
Day 16: Lima City Tour | Return Home
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Today, explore Lima with the opportunity to visit Lima's principal attractions such as the Cathedral of Santa Domingo, the 1535 home of Francisco Pizarro & his descendants, Aliaga House, and Larco Herrera Museum. Enjoy lunch at the museum cafe before transferring to the airport for your flight home.
Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.