Peru is a land of mountains and mystic, from its natural wonders to its historic cities. 

Machu Picchu might be what draws most travellers to Peru. However, this eclectic country has so much more to offer than incredible, world-class and breathtaking hikes (although the hikes are pretty damn good). On a tour from Lima to Cusco, you’ll discover a distinguished culinary scene full of fresh seafood, Pisco sours and empanadas. You can even submerge yourself in the Amazon jungle in search of monkeys, river dolphins and anacondas. Now that's what we call an unforgettable adventure. 

Our Lima to Cusco tours

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Highlights from Lima to Cusco 

A market stall full of colourful fruit

Visit the vibrant market stalls in Lima

One of the best things to do in Lima is to wander and weave through the bustling, multi-story aisles of its central market with fresh produce, savoury snacks, clothes, kitchenware, toys, and traditional trinkets (that make for perfect souvenirs) on offer. The best part? This market promises a fascinating insight into the everyday lives of Peruvians without breaking your travel budget. 

The dense greenery in the Amazon Jungle

Trek through the Amazon Jungle

While there are many natural wonders in Peru, few beat the sheer size and beauty of the Amazon Jungle. Spend your time listening to your local guide as they point out the medicinal and practical uses of the jungle’s flora on a walk through the wilderness and keep your eyes peeled for a flash of colour from a nearby butterfly or flying macaw. Off the grid? Try on another planet. 

Man standing in front of the ruins of Machu Pichu

Take in the beauty of Machu Pichu

Whether you’ve hiked the challenging but oh-so-worth-it Inca Trail or taken the train straight to the top, seeing Machu Picchu for the first time as you walk through the Sun Gate is an experience you’ll never forget (and one you’ll want to take at least 387 photos of). Built around 1440AD, this ancient Incan site will leave you speechless as you take a guided tour around its ruins of temples and living quarters. 

A group of people walking in front of the cathedral in Cusco at twilight.

Walk the charming streets of Cusco

It may be a gateway to the mystical Machu Pichu, but Cusco is a must-visit city in its own right with its captivating culture, delicious food, historical buildings, and friendly locals. Whether you want to explore Plaza de Armas – a public square filled with churches, museums, and cafes – or search for souvenirs at the Mercado San Pedro market, the small but mighty city of Cusco is guaranteed to steal your heart. 

A group of people crowded around a local leader in the streets of Ollantaytambo

Explore Ollantaytambo with a local guide

The charming region of Ollantaytambo (‘Ollanta’ to locals) is as fun to say as it is to explore with an extraordinary combination of natural wonders to look at (thanks to its position in the Sacred Valley), authentic restaurants full of Peruvian delicacies (ceviche anyone?) to eat in, and unforgettable Incan ruins to wander around. Do just that and more with your own local guide for an afternoon. 

A big helping of lomo saltado

Indulge in traditional Peruvian delicacies

If you hadn’t treated your tastebuds to Peruvian food before you set foot in this vibrant South American country, then buckle them up because they’re about to go on the culinary ride of their lives. From saucy lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with onions, tomatoes, and chillies) to creative causa (a savoury dish made with potato and chicken in a cake-like structure), you’ll never go hungry in Peru. 

Lima to Cusco tour reviews

Lima to Cusco FAQs

Trips on or before 31 December 2022

If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Your destination or airline may still require specific proof of testing or vaccination. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

Peru has visa-free travel agreements with most countries, and foreign nationals including those from the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand and Canada do not require a visa for tourism purposes.

Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. You can also check the Essential Trip Information section of your itinerary for more information.

Learn more about visa requirements for Peru

Peru is a fascinating country with four distinct geographical regions. Not many countries can offer beaches, mountains, rainforests and deserts in one visit. These distinct regions offer something for everyone, which is why most Intrepid tours operate all year round.

June, July and August are considered the driest months in the Highlands and Amazon basin and are optimal for hiking and river journeys. However, even during the rainy season in the Amazon, the rains only fall for a few hours at a time. In the Andes, the rainy season can sometimes just mean a bit of overcast weather. The advantage to travelling in these areas at this time is that many other travellers make the mistake of postponing their plans until the dry season, leaving you with more of Peru to yourself.

The best time to visit the infamous Nazca Lines or the coastal areas is from December to April, although the other months of the year are perfectly good times to visit as well. Remember that the Inca Trail is closed for cleaning during February, although there are other treks to Machu Picchu which are available at this time.

One of the best ways to get from Lima to Cusco (while still seeing all of the breathtaking sights Peru has to offer) is to jump on a pre-organised tour that takes away the stress of travelling, but if that's not your thing, there are still several options to get between the two destinations. These options include flying (the flight time is approximately 1 and a half hours), taking the bus (which takes between 18 and 21 hours but is the cheapest option), and self-driving (the car journey will take approximately 15 hours). 

Many travellers fly into the capital of Cusco, before taking the train or choosing a hiking tour. The stepping stone to Machu Picchu is Ollantaytambo, which is about 1.5 hours away from Cusco by bus.

From Ollantaytambo the most common ways to get to Machu Picchu are:

Learn more about how to get to Machu Picchu

For a day trip exploring Machu Picchu, it is recommended to take a small backpack with the essentials: sunscreen, hat, water bottle (filled before departing for the day), a few snacks and mosquito repellent. It helps to wear breathable pants, a long shirt and to bring a waterproof jacket – since the UV index is higher in the Andes and the site is prone to receiving rainfall.

If you plan to trek before visiting Machu Picchu, be sure to read our detailed packing instructions in your Essential Trip Information.

Check out our ultimate Machu Picchu packing guide

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to our Travel Insurance hub.

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