Explore the best of the Peruvian countryside on this ten-day adventure trip. Start in the capital city of Lima, then catch a domestic flight to Arequipa — the base for all adventures in Colca Canyon. You'll spend a few days exploring the condor's home, then transfer to Machu Picchu for the Sacred Valley highlights and a hike up the colorful Rainbow Mountain.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the rich colonial heritage of Arequipa c
  • Visit one of the deepest canyons, Colca Canyon
  • Explore the Sacred Valley and its ancient Incan monuments and villages
  • Dicover Machu Picchu, the famous Inca Citadel
  • See the magic of Rainbow Mountain

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima - Bienvenidos! Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Arequipa Arequipa
Day 3 Colca Canyon Tour: Arequipa - Colca - Arequipa Colca
Day 4 Colca Canyon Tour: Arequipa - Colca - Arequipa Arequipa
Day 5 Arrival in Cusco, Transfer to Hotel Cusco
Day 6 Moray Terraces & Maras Salt Mines Tour Cusco
Day 7 Pisac & Ollantaytambo tour: Arrive in Machu Picchu Town Aguas Calientes
Day 8 Visit Machu Picchu: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu & Back to Cusco Cusco
Day 9 Rainbow Mountain Trek Cusco
Day 10 Adiós: Fly from Cusco to Lima, Depart Peru  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima - Bienvenidos!

Lima coastline in the evening
Lima coastline in the evening

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population.

Upon your arrival at Lima Airport, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will take you to your hotel in Miraflores/San Isidro. You will have the remainder of the day free to relax and get acquainted with the city at your own pace.

Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants. 

Depending on your arrival time, we have plenty of suggestions for you so you can make the most of your day in Lima.

Suggested activities: 

  • Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family. 
  • Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire. 
  • Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts. 
  • In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls.  The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific. 
  • Enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.

Day 2: Arrival in Arequipa

Plaza de Armas in Arequipa
Plaza de Armas in Arequipa

Transfer to the airport and take a domestic flight to the Arequipa Airport. You'll be met there by a tour representative, who will give you a brief intro to the city on the drive to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax, settle into the hotel, and get acquainted with the city at your own pace. 

Late afternoon is a great time to head to the Plaza de Armas, one of South America's most beautiful central squares. Enjoy the view of the sun setting over the three volcanoes that surround the city, grab a bite to eat, and rub shoulders with locals out on the town.

Other Suggestions Include: 

  • Explore the Monasterio of Santa Catalina: A town within a town, this expansive monastery is packed full of chapels, bedrooms, and cooking quarters which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of devout catholic nuns back in the 16th century.
  • Visit Yanahuara: You'll have unbeatable views of the majestic ice-capped volcanoes that encircle the city.
  • Try delicious food: The cuisine of Arequipa is one of the most varied and rich from Peruvian Cuisine.

Day 3: Colca Canyon Tour: Arequipa - Colca - Arequipa

Start the day early, setting off on a scenic drive to Colca Canyon. This drive will last around 3 hours and will take you through spectacular landscapes featuring snowcapped volcanoes and quaint Andean villages. 

As the road climbs up to the Reserva Nacional de Salinas y Aguada Blanca, keep your eyes open for wild vicuñas (smaller cousins of the llama) and viscachas (small chinchilla-like rodents). At the highest point of your journey, you’ll reach Patapampa Pass, located at a breathtaking 15,300 feet (4,820 m) above sea level. Here, you'll visit Mirador de Los Andes (Lookout Point of the Andes) in Patapampa. This lookout point offers incredible views of the peaks of the various volcanoes surrounding Arequipa, including the Hualca Hualca, the Sabancaya, and the Ampato

Next, descend down into the town of Chivay, where you’ll begin to see pre-Inca agricultural terraces that characterize the landscape of the canyon. Upon arrival in Chivay, you'll stop in the main square to enjoy lunch.

After lunch, transfer to your hotel. 

The rest of the afternoon will be free to take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings, and simply rest and rejuvenate for the next day.

You can visit any of the plenty of public natural thermal baths in the region, depending on the town your accommodation is located, some of them are La Calera (near Chivay), Tambo and Chacapi (near Yanque),and Sallihua (Near Coporaque). Here visitors can pay a few soles to enter, and relax in the warm waters.

Day 4: Colca Canyon Tour: Arequipa - Colca - Arequipa

Early this morning, you’ll meet your guide and drive to Mirador Cruz del Condor, one of the best viewpoints over the canyon and home to the famed condors that gracefully soar on the thermal currents. The road leads past picturesque villages and pre-Inca ruins dominated by the Ampato and Hualca glaciers, both visible in the distance. Once you reach Cruz del Condor, you can stand at the viewpoint and gaze into the depths of the canyon, which stretches nearly 4,000 feet below.

You will return to Chivay where you can enjoy lunch and browse the local market before starting the journey by land back to Arequipa.

Day 5: Arrival in Cusco, Transfer to Hotel

Cusco from the Sacsayhuamán ruins
Cusco from the Sacsayhuamán ruins

Head to the airport for your transfer flight to Cusco

Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation.

In the evening, take the opportunity to experience Cusco's celebrated culinary heritage at a local restaurant. 

Day 6: Moray Terraces & Maras Salt Mines Tour

Maras Salt Flats
Maras Salt Flats

This morning, you'll depart to The Sacred Valley of the Incas, upon arrival in Moray, you'll see the three famous amphitheater-like terraces made by the Incas. These terraces are carved deep into the earth in the shape of a bowl. It is believed that the Incas once used these terraces as agricultural laboratories to determine the optimal conditions for growing crops.

When you are done exploring Moray, you will head about two miles away, to the salt mines of Maras (Salineras de Maras). This village is known as a former salt-producing center and is thought to date back to pre-Incan times. There are over 3,000 salt pools carved into the mountainside, that are filled daily by a stream of water. 

Finally, return to Cusco and have the rest of the day to rest or go around the city.

Day 7: Pisac & Ollantaytambo tour: Arrive in Machu Picchu Town

Ancient landscaping

This morning you will depart from your hotel in Cusco and travel to Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. Here you'll explore the ancient Inca burial grounds, irrigation systems, and astronomy centers. Next, go down to the town of Pisac located at the bottom of the valley. This town is famous for its bustling textile market. Select from a wide assortment of colors, styles, and designs for gifts and souvenirs to take home with you.

Stop for lunch, and enjoy a traditional Peruvian - Andean cuisine at a restaurant in the same Urubamba, conveniently located in a beautiful setting overlooking the Urubamba River. 

From here, head to the ancient Incan city of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that have retained its original Inca urban planning. Walk through the streets with Inca-era canals and view the ancient houses still in use today. Climb the agricultural terraces where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye-view of the valley. From the top, you’ll be able to see some of the quarries from where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced. It’s amazing to think how far these large stones were transported from, especially considering the Incas didn’t have pack animals strong enough to carry them. 

From here, take the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) for overnight.

Day 8: Visit Machu Picchu: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu & Back to Cusco

Get an early start to beat the crowds and get the best views of the ancient ruins. From Aguas Calientes, it's an easy 25-minute bus ride up to the Machu Picchu ruins.

This 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 ft (2,430 m) and is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. 

Built as a seasonal residence for the Inca family, Machu Picchu was rarely home to more than 800 people, and during the royals' absence, a mere 100 servants would remain at the site to maintain the grounds. Machu Picchu was abandoned 100 years after construction and remained largely hidden to the outside world until the early 20th century. 

Your guide will lead you around the site and explain the different buildings and curious corners of the building complex. Approximately one-third of the site has been reconstructed into its original structure, giving visitors a sense of the grandeur and artistry of the original citadel. 

After the tour,  you will have time to explore the citadel on your own, then take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and grab lunch (not included) in the picturesque town center.  Connect to your train to Ollantaytambo and your connecting transfer back to your hotel in Cusco.

*Entrance hour to The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is subject to availability, we will try to get the first shift available.
* After the guided tour in Machu Picchu, the guide will depart and you will be able to explore the Sanctuary on your own.

Day 9: Rainbow Mountain Trek

Rainbow Mountain in the Andes
Rainbow Mountain in the Andes

Start your morning early with a dawn pickup for the 3.5-hour drive to the beginning of the trek. Once you reach your destination, you will pause for breakfast before beginning the hike. 

Start from Cillca, located at 12,139 ft (3,700 m). From here it's a 4-hour uphill trek to reach the famous Rainbow Mountain. As you hike, take in the sweeping views of the Andes mountains, glacial peaks, and herds of alpacas and llamas. Once you reach the top of Rainbow Mountain you will have unparalleled views of the vibrantly colored soil, surrounding valleys, and the 21,000 ft (6,400 m) Ausangate Glacier rising in front of you. 

Make your way back to the base of the hike and return to your hotel in Cusco.

Day 10: Adiós: Fly from Cusco to Lima, Depart Peru

Today is your last day in Peru! You will be met at your hotel for a transfer to the Cusco Airport, where you will catch your flight back to Lima and then transfer to your international departure.

¡Buen viaje!