During this 15-day immersive adventure in Peru you will delve right into experiencing many of Peru´s most renowned archeological sites and cities while gaining invaluable knowledge about the Peruvian culture, language, history, and the natural world. Of course you will also have time to relax, capture amazing photographs, taste the delectable combinations of the Peruvian cuisine, share priceless moments with locals, family or friends and take in every second of this unforgettable journey.
This action-packed expedition in Peru starts on the coast, in the impressive capital city of Lima, one of the top culinary destinations in the world. From there, get ready to have the sea mist splash your face, because next we are going to the Ballestas Islands to view the stunning array of biodiversity that exists on our planet Earth. You cannot leave Peru without seeing the mysterious Nazca Lines that stretch across the Earth´s surface in the form of animals, plants and geometric shapes. Buckle-up because our next stop is to “The White City” of Arequipa! Enjoy the beautiful volcanic stonework and architecture while viewing the snow-capped volcanoes and expansive desert landscape in the backdrop.
Take off for Cusco! Make sure to look out the plane windows to see the omnipotent mountains of the Andes with all the valleys, folds and colors how the landscape changes beneath you. During our days in Cusco we will visit the rich and fertile lands of the Sacred Valley and the extraordinary ancient City of Machu Picchu.
Now, we will explore the less touristic and unique areas that the north of Peru has to offer. We will enjoy the warm and pleasant “City of Eternal Spring” of Trujillo, the third highest waterfall in the world and take a cable car ride over the amazing landscapes to visit the “Machu Picchu of the North” also known as Fort Kuélap.
This tour offers a unique excursion through Peru that is perfect for all ages, where you will revel in new sights, tastes, smells and sounds. This tour offers an opportunity of a lifetime, that many only daydream of partaking in.
Lima, Nazca, Arequipa, Cusco, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Kuélap, Lima.
2 short bus trips, 2 long bus trips, 3 planes
13 hostel or hotel nights (different options from standard tourist to luxury).
Delve into the Peruvian capital of Lima; a stimulating, energetic and elegant modern city of approximately 8 million inhabitants that rests above a long and meandering coastline of steep sedimentary cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. Lima - once called The City of Kings - still maintains its colonial past and splendour.
Today, Lima is one of the leading culinary destinations in the entire world. You will delight in unforgettable cuisines that combine the unique flavours from a variety of cultures, landscapes, and multiple regions of Peru. A few must-try dishes include Arroz con Mariscos, Lomo Saltado and anything with fresh seafood like Ceviche.
Lima offers something for every visitor, from a variety of museums with brilliant modern and ancient works of art, monasteries, mansions, archaeological sites, beaches, boardwalks, shopping, world-class restaurants, a buzzing nightlife and adventure sports like paragliding and surfing.
The Lima City Tour starts at the archaeological site "Huaca Pucllana" located in the district of Miraflores. Huaca Pucllana was once a magnificent ceremonial and administrative centre for the ancient Lima Culture. It is a mesmerising pyramidal structure built from adobe, small, hand-made bricks, and clay.
From there, visit the Historic Center of Lima with sites such as the Paseo de la República, Plaza San Martín, Plaza Mayor, The Government House, Basílica Cathedral, the Archbishop's House, the Municipality, and the ancient streets with colonial mansions and balconies constructed in the Moorish style. We will visit the San Francisco Convent and Church, which houses the biggest complex of colonial art in America. The tour will continue to the most traditional residential areas of El Olivar de San Isidro and Miraflores.
Despite the barren landscapes of this area of Peru, the coast of the Paracas Peninsula and the nearby Ballestas Islands are havens for an abundance of Pacific marine life. The Ballestas Islands are alive with noisy colonies of sea lions and huge numbers of birds that are sustained by the food-rich waters of this stretch of the Pacific. The Paracas National Reserve, to which the Ballestas Islands are part, works hard on conservation efforts of the marine biodiversity.
During the boat tour, you visit the Candelabro, the famous and mysterious geoglyph on the beach that is 181 meters or about 594 feet long. You will also have the opportunity to visit a collection of rocky islands, home to seals, Humboldt penguins, pelicans and many other types of birds. There are rock formations located in the ocean that have stunning arches and tunnels that were formed by natural processes and the repetitive movement of flowing water.
The Nazca people left behind one of the most astonishing legacies of the ancient cultures of Peru - the Nazca Lines. An elevated plateau called the Nazca Pampa is covered by these mysterious markings. If you take the small Cessna plane, from the air, we can marvel at a multitude of long straight lines, geometric shapes and outlines of animals, birds and plants that have been marked into the dry ground. Most markings were made by removing the top layer of dark stones from the ground. The longest straight lines run for several kilometers, and most of the animal drawings are around 100 - 200 meters across. How and why these designs were made is an enduring mystery, particularly since they can only be seen properly from the air.
Arequipa is also known as “La Ciudad Blanca” – The White City – due to its magnificent constructions made of a light-coloured volcanic rock called ‘sillar’. Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and the capital of the province of Arequipa (department of Arequipa). The city is surrounded by spectacular mountains, including the volcano El Misti.
Within the city of Arequipa, there are plenty of attractions and museums such as the Museo Sanuarios Andinos (where you can see the Juanita Mummy) as well as many other impressive colonial and religious buildings. Within walking distance from the city centre, you find the calm neighbourhood of Yanahuara. Don´t miss out on a visit to the Mirador of Yanahuara, where you can enjoy great views of the Misti Volcano. The Convent of Santa Catalina, perhaps the most fascinating colonial religious building in the country, was until recently home to almost 450 nuns.
Cusco is one of the top tourist destinations in South America because of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, intricate textiles, lavish dances and music, colourful festivals, culinary delights, ancient engineering wonders and a mix of architectural styles.
The ancient city of Cusco is situated in the southeast part of Peru located in the Andes Mountains at a breathtaking 3,400 meters (11,155 feet) above sea level. Cusco is surrounded by beautiful hills and extends into a river basin known as the Sacred Valley of the Inca. Cusco has around 365,000 inhabitants, a majority of who are indigenous or Mestizo (people with a mix of Spanish and indigenous ancestry). The word Cusco derives from Quechua “Qosqo”, meaning navel in the ancient Incan language and hinting to the former significance of the city as the centre of the Inca Empire. Cusco is one of the oldest cities on the South American continent, where people have continuously lived for over 3,000 years.
Take some time to adapt to the high altitude and discover the centre of Cusco. Visit ideas can include the Inca Museum, the Chocolate Museum and/ or a visit to the artsy neighbourhood of San Blas.
A Cusco city tour starts at the impressive Colonial Cathedral in Cusco that contains over 400 paintings from The Cusqueña School and several lavish altars. From there, visit the Temple of the Sun, or The Qorikancha, the main religious center of the Incas dedicated to the Sun Cult. According to the chroniclers, the walls of this temple were entirely covered with gold. The standard city tour also includes a visit to the four ruins less than 8 km from Cusco, including Sacsayhuaman, famous for its enormous carved stones and Q'enqo, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.
This tour travels the length of the fertile and lush Sacred Valley, stopping at four sites of interest including Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. On your way, first stop at the Awana Cancha, to see the different types of Andean camelids, like the alpaca, llama and vicuña. We will be able to hand-feed them local grasses and learn about traditional and natural dyeing techniques that give Peruvian textiles their brilliant colours. The Awana Cancha has a beautiful store featuring all sorts of clothing and textile art made by local artisans.
In Pisac, visit the colourful traditional market as well as the Incan ruins. Our next stop is our lunch in Urubamba, after which we continue on our journey to Ollantaytambo. In this small Inca town, take the train to Aguas Calientes for the visit to Machu Picchu the next day. For many of you, this will be the highlight of your trip to Peru!
Machu Picchu, or “The Lost City of The Inca”, is an important Inca Citadel discovered by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911 after 500 years of lying hidden and untouched in the cloud forest of Peru. Machu Picchu is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful and mysterious ancient sites in the world, particularly as this small but extraordinary city is perched atop a mountain at 2,430 meters or 7,677 feet and is invisible from below. During its peak, Machu Picchu was completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and which were watered by natural springs.
In the early morning, take a bus from Aguas Calientes, the small village situated in the foothills, to Machu Picchu. Once you reach the citadel, take a guided tour, followed by free time for you to explore at your own leisure.
We have completed our round-trip tour in the south of Peru, and we will move on to the beautiful, less-known areas of Northern Peru.
Trujillo is the second largest metropolitan area in Peru. It is located in the north, near the Pacific Ocean. The exquisite colonial architecture and warm weather of makes every corner a perfect scene for photography lovers. Trujillo was named the City of Eternal Spring because of its pleasant, sunny and delightful climate.
Many tourists are drawn to the region of La Libertad to visit its many archaeological sites, beaches and ancient pyramids. The Marinera Norteña, one of the most eye-catching and elegant couple's dances in South America was founded in La Libertad.
Trujillo is one of the cultural capitals of Peru. Great Peruvian thinkers and writers are associated with this Northern Peruvian city, such as César Vallejo and Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre. Furthermore, Trujillo is home to important Peruvian traditions, such as the Marinera dance, the Peruvian Paso Horses, the Caballito de Totora competitions as well as the famous Spring Festival. Trujillo is also a cultural hotspot of ancient ruins of pre-Columbian cultures such as the Cupisnique, the Moche and Chimu cultures.
The Trujillo city tour takes you to the important points of interest within Trujillo: Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral and the museum, the Casa Urquiaga as well as the Palacio Iturregui.
The highlights of the day are the visit to Chan-Chan and the village Huanchaco, which are situated next to the beach. Chan Chan, the former capital of the Chimú culture, is the largest pre-Hispanic mud city in the Americas. The massive walls are decorated with geometric figures, animals and mythological beings or creatures.
Huanchaco is a small, nice beach resort known for the Caballitos de totora or the reed horses which are traditional rafts used by fisherman. You will also be able to view surfers out on the water.
Chiclayo is the capital of the Northern Province Lambayeque. The Northern regions of Peru have been inhabited for millennia. Spanish priests founded Chiclayo in the second half of the 16th century. During the colonial period in Chiclayo, many interesting buildings were erected that featured the Spanish style and the wealth of the Spanish landowners.
The tomb of the "Lord of Sipan" consists of several rooms and is one of the most beautiful tombs on the continent, impressing visitors with its golden walls and rich decorations. At the time of the discovery archaeologists unearthed that the Moche ruler was accompanied by a warrior, a priest, two women, a child, a dog, a llama and a guardian with amputated feet.
We will visit the Museo de Sitio Huaca Rajada and the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum full of extraordinary artefacts found in the archaeological excavations within Chiclayo. The next stop will be at the Pyramids of Túcume, before we return to Chiclayo from where you can travel by (night) bus to Chachapoyas.
Chachapoyas is a small town with a subtropical climate. Chachapoyas is located between the striking Andes mountain range and the biodiverse Amazon jungle. The climate and location of Cachapoyas is perfect for the growth of beautiful and exotic flowers. This region is home to the Kuélap archaeological site, which is nuzzled high up in the mountains and surrounded by forested land. Located close to Kuélap is the Gocta waterfall, one of the most stunning and breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls in the world. This is a must-see attraction for tourists with a passion for hiking and adventure. Gocta is the third highest waterfall in the world that plunges over 771 meters or 2,500 feet. The waterfall is located within a beautiful forest where you can observe bird and monkey species as well as the rich variety of orchids.
One of the highlights of your trip in Peru will be the Kuélap Fortress, left behind by the ancient culture of Chachapoyas, that has stonewalls reaching 19 meters or 62 feet. Access is possible thanks to a modern cable car system that allows you to enjoy the landscape with a bird's eye view. The Kuélap fortress is also called the “Machu Picchu of the North.” Kuélap is surrounded by gorgeous landscapes.
Kuélap used to be the political centre of the Chachapoya civilisation from about 900 to 1400 AD. In that era, the city may have had 300,000 inhabitants. Due to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, the Chachapoya civilisation and fortress collapsed, and Kuélap was abandoned.
In 2004, Kuélap was placed on the World Monuments Watch List to save the fortress from deterioration. Organisations such as the World Monuments Fund have supported the conservation of Kuélap.
On this last day, we fly back to Lima where this trips ends.