Travel to Peru in style, from the hot coastal plains to the high cities of Cusco and ancient Machu Picchu. Uncover charming colonial towns, stunning Andean landscapes, Inca ruins, colourful markets and a fascinating local culture. Tour through Lima, Pisco, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. This majestic adventure will take you into the true heart of Peru, unveiling a fascinating culture that is sure to astound.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Lima, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGKP
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Opt to trek the 1-Day Inca Trail, an excellent option for those wanting to experience trekking in Peru, but don’t want to do the full four days

  • The giant desert inscriptions of the Nazca Lines are one of Peru's great unsolved mysteries. Scrutinise them up close on a viewing platform or from a bird's-eye-view on an optional flight

  • Cusco is a great city to explore on foot. Enter a bygone era as you explore the ancient Incan ruins dotted all over the city

  • A trip through Peru wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour around the ruins as well as plenty of free time to discover it on your own

  • Spend a full day exploring the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island, with the chance to meet the local Uru people

Is this trip right for you?

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the Essential Trip information (ETI) for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Kick off your adventure in Peru's coastal capital. The tour begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm where you'll meet your tour guide and travel group. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the location of the meeting. After this important meeting, head out on a walking tour of the vibrant Miraflores area with your tour leader. Enjoy free time to explore at your own pace,  then perhaps meet back up with the group for an optional dinner. Whether you dine with the group or sample the city's renowned food scene on your own, don't miss sampling Peru's national dish, ceviche (raw rish marinated in lime juice, often served with hot peppers). If you're not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other excellent options on offer. Ask your tour leader for advice.


Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Pachacamac Tour (30 km from downtown) - USD37
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Begin the day with a guided walking tour of Lima's historic cenre. Stroll atmospheric streets flanked with ornate mansions, palaces and Spanish colonial churches, taking in Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral of Lima, the San Francisco Monastery and the central market. Your leader will guide you through the market where you'll find vendors selling a variety of fresh produce, as well as more unusual fare like cuy (better know as guinea pig) – a Peruvian delicacy! Sample some local fruits and street food, then head away from the tourist trail and visit Alameda de Chabuca Granda. This pedestrian strip is where Limenos (locals from Lima) go for street food and entertainment. Sample authentic Peruvian desserts here, like mazamorra morada (a sweet porridge made from purple corn) and picarones (Peruvian donuts made from local squash and sweet potato, then drenched in a sweet syrup). Later on, travel by minivan to beautiful Paracas (about four hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Guided tour, including San Francisco Monastery, the Catacombs and Central Market
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Cathedral visit - PEN12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wake early and make your way to Paracas' port, where you'll board a boat bound for Islas Ballestas. The islands are home to an abundance of wildlife including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. Have your camera handy, as there's a good chance you'll get up close to the wildlife on this 1.5 to 2 hour boat tour. Keep in mind that the port is sometimes closed due to weather conditions between June and September. If this happens during your trip, an alternative land-based tour of the Paracas National Reserve will be arranged instead.

After some awesome wildlife-viewing, hop in a private van and drive one of the world's most mysterious archaeological sites, the Nazca Lines. It's about a three-hour journey, but we may stop at the oasis town of Huacachina along the way. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC. Thanks to the dry desert conditions found here, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well-preserved, providing archaeologists with clear snapshots of the highly developed, pre-Inca civilisation that once resided here. Climb to the viewing platform, or perhaps take an optional flight over the lines for the best experience. The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ballestas Island - Guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines - USD100
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
On occasion Nazca lines flights may be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Should this happen on the day you have booked this activity, it will be rescheduled to the following morning (Day 4 of this trip). 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 US100 per person (price subject to change).

Altitude sickness is a common occurrence in this part of the world. Anyone can suffer from the symptoms, so it's important to be prepared for it. Please see the 'Health' section of the trip notes for more information.
Travel about nine hours from Nazca to Arequipa by local bus. Standing at the foot of El Misti Volcano and oozing the best of Spanish colonial charm, Arequipa vies with Cusco for the title of Peru's most attractive city. Built out of a pale volcanic rock called sillar, the old buildings dazzle in the sun, giving the city its nickname - the 'White City'. The main plaza, with its cafes and nearby cathedral, is a lovely place to while away the day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get to know this beautiful city with the help of a local guide. Visit the main plaza, Santa Catalina Monastery, San Ignacio Chapel and the suburb of Yanahuara. Afterwards, you're free to explore Arequipa at your own pace. Perhaps return to the main square to take a closer look at its lovely cathedral, cafes and eateries. You may also like to visit the Juanita Museum, which houses Peru’s famous ‘Ice Maiden’, the Inca mummy of a girl who died in the 1440s. Ask your tour leader for other tips on how to make the most of your free day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arequipa - Walking tour
  • Arequipa - San Ignacio Chapel Visit
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Arequipa - Cathedral Visit
Optional Activities
  • Arequipa - Juanita Museum - PEN20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by minivan to Puno, a town located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It's a long drive (about five hours), but the dramatic views of Peru’s highlands, the Altiplano, make it an exceptionally scenic one too. As you approach Puno, stop to pay a visit to the ruins of Sillustani. Tucked between small villages on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umaya, the pre-Inca ruins are comprised of circular towers called chullpas that served as burial sites for noble men. It's about a 45-minute drive from here to Puno. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan indigenous culture. Traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here earning to town the title of Folklore Capital of Peru. If you’re lucky enough to arrive during a festival, you’ll be treated to an elaborate parade of costumes and dances.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sillustani archaeological site (time permitting)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the day with a tour of Lake Titicaca. Sitting 3820 metres above sea level, it holds the title of highest navigable lake in the world. Hop in a motorboat and learn about the spiritual significance the lake holds for the Quechua while cruising across its waters. Stop off at Uros Titinos, floating islands made entirely from layers of totora reeds. As you'll find out, the islands are constantly under construction; as the reeds closest to the water begin to rot, more layers are added on top. Reeds are used for making everything on the island, including the boats used to travel to the mainland, which can last up to 12 months. Continue to Taquile Island, where the locals make their livelihood out of textiles. Here, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women doing the spinning. To reach the main part of the island, there is a one-hour uphill trek with great views of the lake. Sit down to an optional set lunch consisting of a local staple – nutritious quinoa soup – washed down with a cup of muna tea (Andean mint tea). After a brief stay, a descent of about 500 steps brings you back to the boat, which will take you back to Puno (about three hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Puno is home to Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation supported by The Intrepid Foundation that works towards improving the living condition of children, families and elderly affected by poverty and malnutrition in surrounding rural communities.

Check out this video if you'd like to learn more: vimeo.com/154422813
If after your time here you'd like to support this project, donations can be made through The Intrepid Foundation's website: theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo
Take a scenic bus ride across the Altiplano towards Cusco (about six hours). Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and here, colonial buildings are built upon foundations remaining from Inca times. Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3450 metres), then set out to discover some of Cusco's lesser-known sights on a guided walking tour. Visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. End the walking tour at Cusco's Chocolate museum where you'll get to sample a decadent cup of hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. There’s a small store where you can browse handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to visit the city’s many museums and archaeological sites with a boleto turistico (tourism ticket). This includes the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum, Qosqo Native Art Museum and the Inca ruins of Saqsaywaman, Q'enqo, Pica Pakara, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The most easily accessible among these sites is Coricancha, which was once the Incan empire's richest temple until the Spanish built a Dominican church on top of it.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Stand Up Paddle Boarding - USD75
  • Cusco - Art Trail workshop - USD59
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set out by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. Just outside Cusco, make a stop to visit the Inca fortress, Sacsayhuaman. Overlooking 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 and engineering ingenuity. For lunch, visit a community that live in the valley and learn about the local lifestyle and language. If it’s market day, you may have the opportunity to browse the local handicrafts such as beads and ponchos. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll spend the night. If there’s time you may like to see the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
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.
This morning, catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (about 90 minutes). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour tomorrow. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes.

One-Day Inca Trail:
If you're the active type, you can choose to trek the One-Day Inca Trail today. Keep in mind, you must pre-book this option at least 30 days prior to departure. If you choose this option, the day begins bright and early with a 6:30 am train ride to the starting point. With a local guide leading the way, the trail will lead uphill and downhill, passing a few archaeological sites along the way. See Chachabamba and Winay Wayna (2680 metres), also known as 'Forever Young'. This impressive complex is consider by many to be most impressive site on the whole Inca Trail, and is made up of a terraced argicultural centre, religious sector and urban sector. From here, it's about a one-hour  trek to Intipunku (the Sun Gate), where (weather permitting), you'll enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu. Depending on how long the trek takes, you'll have time to snap some pics and look around before taking a short bus ride down to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) where you'll re-join the group and spend the night at a hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 1 Day Inca Trail - Add-on (Must pre-book)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you opt to do the One-Day Inca Trail Trek, you must pre-book this option at least 30 days prior to departure.
Take an early bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cusco.


Visiting Machu Picchu:
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sunrise at Machu Picchu: The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30am. The estimated arrival time is between 6- 6.30am The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Enjoy free time to delve deeper into all Cusco has to offer. Those with weary legs may want to simply grab a coffee from a cafe at Plaza de Armas and do some people-watching. Cafe Daria is a great choice for a meal. In addition to serving up delicious food, this central pizzeria also provides vocational training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For those still seeking an active adventure, the hills that surround Cusco are well-suited for some mountain biking. Ask your tour leader for advice on optional activities and how to make the most of your free day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a short flight from Cusco to Lima. Upon arrival, the day is free to spend how you wish. Visit some of the sites you missed at the beginning of the trip or perhaps do some last-minute souvenir shopping. While there are no activities planned for today, why not gather the group for one final night out on the town. Your tour leader will be happy to offer tips on how to make the most of your last day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The adventure comes to and end today after breakfast; there are no planned activities today.
Optional Activities
  • Lima Home Cooked - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
  • Lima - Night Bites & Sights - Urban Adventures - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may be continuing on to Buenos Aires, Argentina today to start the second part of their trip - Best of Peru, Argentina & Brazil (GGKPC).

Meals

13 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Plane, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Lima - Guided tour, including San Francisco Monastery, the Catacombs and Central Market
  • Ballestas Island - Guided tour
  • Arequipa - Walking tour
  • Arequipa - San Ignacio Chapel Visit
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Arequipa - Cathedral Visit
  • Sillustani archaeological site (time permitting)
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • 1 Day Inca Trail - Add-on (Must pre-book)
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour

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Important notes

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

ARRIVAL TRANSFER
An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

HIKE ADD-ON:
Your tour itinerary includes taking the train to Machu Picchu however on this trip you can opt to hike:
- The 1-day Inca Trail (day 11 of this itinerary) - Additional surcharge required.
Important: This option is subject to permit availability. Please contact your booking agent if you would like to book this option (the default itinerary does not include hiking, so you must specifically request this)
More information on this trek can be found in the itinerary section your Essential Trip information (ETI).

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Majestic Peru trips score an average of 4.45 out of 5 based on 87 reviews in the last year.

Majestic Peru, September 2018

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Majestic Peru, September 2018

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