Learn to make ceviche, hike through rainbow-colored hills, taste pisco at a historic Peruvian winery, and ride a zip line through the Sacred Valley on this exciting 10-day journey through Peru. Offering a mix of gourmet experiences and thrilling outdoor activities, the trip starts in Lima, where you'll sightsee and go on a foodie tour in bohemian Barranco. Then you'll travel down the coast to Huacachina to try "surfing" on massive sand dunes and tour family-run wineries. Continue on to Cusco, day-tripping to the Sacred Valley for a rock climbing and zip-lining excursion. Travel to Machu Picchu at dawn to explore the lost city of the Incas, then spend the last day of the itinerary hiking around the colorful landscapes of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain. With fresh air, delicious food, and insights into Peru's history and culture, this trip is a traveler's favorite.

Highlights

  • Go on an insider's food tour of Lima and learn how ceviche is made
  • Taste wines and pisco at one of Peru's oldest wineries
  • Try rock climbing and zip lining in the Sacred Valley
  • See the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu at dawn
  • Hike through the vibrant landscapes of Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima & Get Oriented Lima
Day 2 Enjoy a Peruvian Food Tour in Barranco Lima
Day 3 Travel Along the Coast to Huacachina Huacachina
Day 4 Visit the Vista Alegre Winery Huacachina
Day 5 Transfer to Cusco & Sightsee Cusco
Day 6 Experience Outdoor Adventures in the Sacred Valley Cusco
Day 7 Tour Pisac & Ollantaytambo   Aguas Calientes
Day 8 Explore Machu Picchu Cusco
Day 9 Trek Around Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain  Cusco
Day 10 Depart Peru - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima & Get Oriented

High cliffs over the ocean in Miraflores, Lima

Welcome to Lima, Peru! The country's largest city is home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous settlement, 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 makes it a perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of many award-winning restaurants. Or take in views over the ocean in the clifftop neighborhood of Miraflores

Day 2: Enjoy a Peruvian Food Tour in Barranco

A pisco sour with a view

Today you'll have the chance to try a wide range of Peruvian snacks, street foods, traditional dishes, and drinks on a walking food tour of artsy Barranco. A local chef will teach you how to prepare Peru's most famous treats, including ceviche and pisco sours. You'll also see the preparation of regional dishes inside the kitchen of a restaurant that opened in 1937. 

Later, you'll have free time for sightseeing or exploring. Visit Peru's National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology, and History, the oldest national museum. Founded in 1826, it houses a huge collection of pottery, textiles, and gold and silver artifacts from various indigenous cultures. You could also visit the Larco Museum, located inside a mansion built on a pre-Columbian pyramid, to see an incredible collection of pre-Hispanic gold and silver artifacts. Dine on Peruvian cuisine in a restaurant near your hotel before the journey continues tomorrow.

Day 3: Travel Along the Coast to Huacachina

The oasis of Huacachina
Early in the morning, transfer to the bus station for the ride to the city of Ica. Take in the beauty of the coastline along the journey. When you arrive in Ica, check into your hotel and take off for an afternoon adventure in the desert sand dunes of Huacachina. Hop on a sandboard to surf down the larger dunes. You'll return to Ica for dinner and an overnight.

Day 4: Visit the Vista Alegre Winery

A winery near Ica
Ica is the center of Peru's red wine production. It's also where the famous Peruvian spirit of pisco is made. Just north of town in the La Tinguiña district, visit Vista Alegre Winery. One of the oldest and largest wineries in Peru, it was a Jesuit hacienda until the late 18th century. Taste wines and sample a pisco sour, the beloved cocktail made with pisco, fresh-squeezed limes, sugar, and egg whites. 
 
Later, head back to your hotel to relax before continuing the journey tomorrow.

Day 5: Transfer to Cusco & Sightsee

Private Transfer Cusco Airport (CUZ) - Cusco
 Cusco, Peru

Today you will travel to Cusco. This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries. Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation. 

Visit the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun." The temple was built by the Incan Emperor Pachacutec (1438-1572), and after the arrival of the Spaniards, it became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent. See the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco's colonial art. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654. Walk to Sacsayhuamán and Quenqo, archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals. Or explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community.

Day 6: Experience Outdoor Adventures in the Sacred Valley

Scenery in the Sacred Valley

Today will be an unforgettable day of outdoor adventures. You'll be picked up from your hotel in the morning and taken to Pachar, located in the Sacred Valley. After a brief safety and equipment talk, the rock climbing begins!

You will climb a "via ferrata," a path that follows a series of metal steps built into the rock wall. This system makes it possible for anyone in good physical condition — even those who have never tried rock climbing before — to experience the thrill of climbing in a safe and controlled way.

Enjoy a picnic lunch after your climb. Then descend the mountain on a zip line, arriving safely at the valley floor far below. You'll return to Cusco for the evening.

Day 7: Tour Pisac & Ollantaytambo  

Ruins of Pisac
Exploring the ruins of Pisac

This morning you will depart from your hotel in Cusco and travel to Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. In this area, you'll explore 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.

Next, you'll stop for lunch, enjoying traditional Andean cuisine at a restaurant in a beautiful setting overlooking the Urubamba River. Then head to the ancient Incan city of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that have retained their 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.

Finish the day's tour in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. You'll spend the night here before getting an early wake-up call tomorrow. 

Day 8: Explore Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in the early morning
From Aguas Calientes, it's an easy 25-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Get an early start to beat the crowds and get the best views of the ancient ruins. The 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) 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 a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built as a seasonal residence for the emperor's family, Machu Picchu was rarely home to more than 800 people; 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 Machu Picchu on your own, then take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and have a late lunch or drinks in the picturesque town center. Then ride the train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to Cusco for the night.

Day 9: Trek Around Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain 

Hiking near Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain 

Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain is only about 12.5 miles (20 km) from its famous sister Vinicunca. While Vinicunca attracts thousands of visitors, its smaller sister Palcoyo (16,000 ft/ 4900m) has fewer crowds and equal beauty. This mini trek is perfect for travelers who want to view the colorful rainbow mountains in a relatively shorter and more gentle trek, and a great option for those traveling with kids.

Start the morning with an early pickup. You'll stop for breakfast along the way. Your drive this morning will be along the Red River, with plenty of opportunities for photos and stops. The drive will take roughly 3.5 hours, after which you'll arrive at the starting point of the short hike. From here, the hike is approximately an hour via a short, relatively flat path. Along the way, you'll see llamas, sheep, vicuñas, and alpacas. The summit lies about 16,400 ft (5,000 m) above sea level. Once you reach the top, you'll have time to enjoy the panorama and take pictures.

At this point, it is time to hike downhill.  Once you reach the bottom, start the drive back to Cusco. You'll have the evening free to relax and enjoy one last Peruvian dinner before the trip is over.

Day 10: Depart Peru - End of Trip

Looking down at Cusco
The adventure comes to an end today. Head to the airport to catch your flight out. Safe travels!

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