From metropolitan Lima to the remote Peruvian Andes, this 6-day adventure brings you to the heart the action. Start in Lima— the capital of Peru—then take a scenic bus trip to Huaraz, a mountain town popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the city's history, then head into the mountains to see stunning glaciated peaks, bright blue mountain lakes, and Peru's highest mountain—Mt. Huascaran, which towers at 22,205 ft.

Highlights

  • Explore Peru's diversity, from metropolitan Lima to small mountain towns
  • Enjoy spectacular views of glaciated mountains and blue lakes
  • Get an adrenaline rush with an icy dip in a glacial lake

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Bus from Lima to Huaraz Lima
Day 3 Huaraz: Llanganuco Lake Huaraz
Day 4 Pastoruri Glacier Huaraz
Day 5 Bus from Huaraz to Lima Lima
Day 6 Departing Lima  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Lima's Plaza Mayor
Lima's Plaza Mayor

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore. 

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. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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: Bus from Lima to Huaraz

A busy market day in Huaraz
A busy market day in Huaraz

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel, then transfer to the bus station for your 8-hour ride back to Huaraz. You'll arrive in Huaraz in the evening. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and take time to relax before your big day ahead.

Day 3: Huaraz: Llanganuco Lake

Magnificent landscapes in the Cordillera
Magnificent landscapes in the Cordillera

The tour to Llanganuco Lakes is a classic trip with exceptional views and cultural highlights. Depart from Huaraz at the base of the Cordillera Blanca in the morning, and head upriver to the village of Jangas. From here you will have a stunning view of the surrounding snowcapped peaks and deep valleys. Pass through several small villages before reaching Carhuaz, where you will stop in the main village for a brief rest. 

Back on the trail, you will pass through fisheries to reach Mancos, passing by the oldest ruins in the region on the way: the Guitarreros Caves, which date to 560 B.C.E. 

As you continue to Llanganuco Lake you see remains of towns, destroyed in the devastating 1970 earthquake. Once you reach the Huascaran National Park you enter an impressive central valley and the Shacsha River, which you will follow to the turquoise glacial lake. Rest by the lake (or jump in if you're brave!), then head back down the trail and return to Huaraz.

Day 4: Pastoruri Glacier

Pastoruri Glacier
Pastoruri Glacier

After breakfast, head south out of the city to see mountain lakes and glaciers. Your first stop will be Patacocha Lagoon to see Andean wildlife and a stunning mountain lake. From here, head to the Lake Pumapashimi, also known as the Lake of 7 Colors for the visual effect produced by the reflection of the sun on the lake's algae. You'll also see the native titanca plant—the world's largest bromeliad, which can reach up to 50 ft (15 m) in height. 

Continue to the entrance of Pastoruri to begin your 45-minute walk to the glacier. There is an option here to rent a horse, for those who prefer to ride instead of walking. Enjoy the views of the spectacular ice sheet and surrounding mountains, and feel rejuvenated in the fresh cold air. Hike back to the car and return to Huaraz.

Day 5: Bus from Huaraz to Lima

Central Plaza of Huaraz
Central Plaza of Huaraz

After a free morning, it's time to say goodbye to the mountain town of Huaraz. Board a bus for the 8-hour ride back to Lima and arrive around 9:30 PM, with enough time for a quick dinner and a chance to relax at the hotel.

Day 6: Departing Lima

Evening view of the Coastline in Lima
Evening view of the Coastline in Lima

Today, you will be met at your hotel for a transfer to the Lima Airport for your flight back home. ¡Buen viaje!

Kristy
Written by Kristy T, updated Mar 18, 2019