During this 11-day trip, you will experience all the local tastes, historic sites, and incredible views that the southern part of Peru has to offer. Check out the gastronomic scene in Lima that includes pisco sours and ceviche, and overnight in the city of Ida where you'll go sandboarding. Zip line down the via ferrata in Pachar and explore the Sacred Valley, including the ruins of Machu Picchu. Finally, check out the city of Cusco and see the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun."

Highlights

  • Explore Lima on a gastronomic tour
  • Learn about the ancient history of the Sacred Valley
  • Zip line and have lunch with incredible views
  • Delve into the secrets of Machu Picchu's ruins
  • See the fascinating beauty of Rainbow Mountain

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima Lima
Day 2 Glamp in Ica Ica
Day 3 Ida to Lima Lima
Day 4 Take a Gastronomic Tour in Lima Lima
Day 5 See the Sacred Valley: Cochahuasi, Awanakancha & Pisac Sacred Valley
Day 6 Zip Line Via Ferrata in the Sacred Valley Sacred Valley
Day 7 Visit Machu Picchu Sacred Valley
Day 8 Tour the Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo, Moray & Maras - Cusco Cusco
Day 9 Explore Cusco City, Sacsayhuaman, & San Pedro Market Cusco
Day 10 Rainbow Mountain (Mount Vinicunca) Hike Cusco
Day 11 Cusco to Lima, Depart Peru  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima

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.

Take today to explore Lima at your leisure. 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, as well as pieces of erotic art.
  • 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: Glamp in Ica

Glamping in the desert

In the morning, transfer to the bus station for the approximately 5-hour ride to Ica. The beauty of the coastline and the remarkable wildlife make Paracas one of the main stopping points in Peru.

At your arrival, head to the check-in office to drop off your luggage and head to the sand dunes to go sandboarding down the massive dunes—much like snowboarding, it's a one-of-a-kind experience. 

After, make your way to the luxurious tent accommodation before making your way to the dinner tent, which is adorned with tables, cushions, carpets, candles, and more to make for the perfect evening atmosphere. 

After dinner, enjoy unobstructed views of the starry night sky. 

Day 3: Ida to Lima

The city of Lima

In the morning, catch the bus back to Lima. Your afternoon is free. 

Catch up on some souvenir shopping at Dedalo in the Barrancos neighborhood, a chic store that specializes in high-quality Peruvian handicrafts.

In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores to catch the Pacific sunset and admire huge kissing statues and beautiful mosaic walls.  Built on the cliffs of Chorrillos, this park boasts sweeping vistas and is a perfect place to wind down after your day.

Afterward, enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.

Day 4: Take a Gastronomic Tour in Lima

Fresh ceviche

These days, Peruvian cuisine is receiving worldwide recognition, and Rosa Nautica has a special place in the local gastronomic field.

Start your culinary adventure with a trip to the local market, where you'll pick the freshest ingredients to make your gourmet lunch. Enjoy oceanfront views as you learn to prepare pisco sour and enjoy fresh ceviche as well as other seafood delicacies.

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Day 5: See the Sacred Valley: Cochahuasi, Awanakancha & Pisac

The magnificent condor

This morning you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, transfer to the Sacred Valley

The elevation in the Sacred Valley is, on average, 9,416 ft. (2870 m), and it's full of scenic Andean landscapes and great archaeological sites from the times of the Incas. The valley was important for the Incan Empire as an agricultural, spiritual, and political center.

Your first stop is the Cochahuasi Rescue Center, a family-run private organization dedicated to rescuing and looking after animals from mistreatment from previous owners, illegal hunters, and poachers. Here you'll have the opportunity to see Andean animals like vicunas, llama, alpaca, and the Andean Condor, while you learn the importance of the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity.

From here, continue to Awanakancha Llama Sanctuary, where you will see llamas, alpacas, and a weaving demonstration. Then, continue 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.

Finally, transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley.

Day 6: Zip Line Via Ferrata in the Sacred Valley

Sweeping views over lunch at Skylodge Adventure Suite 

Today is an adventurous day full of unexpected views and fun challenges. This morning you will be picked up early to begin your journey to the Sacred Valley. You will arrive in Pachar where you will start by climbing 1,312 ft (400 m) up the side of the cliff on the via ferrata—a series of metal steps built into the wall. From the top, descend into the valley on a series of exhilarating zip-line rides. You will then have lunch at the Skylodge Adventure Suite while enjoying the beautiful views of the Sacred Valley. After lunch, you will descend the mountain by ziplining or rappelling your way down before arriving safely at the valley floor far below you. 

Day 7: Visit Machu Picchu

The ruins of Machu Picchu

Take the local train to Aguas Calientes, the base for most Machu Picchu adventures. The ride takes you through a valley and into the Urubamba River canyon, then into the cloud forest as you near the Machu Picchu sanctuary

Then, take a bus up to the Machu Picchu ruins to catch the sunrise at the ancient site. 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 due to the Spanish conquest 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 for the grandeur and artistry of the original citadel. 

If you feel like an uphill challenge, you have the option to climb the infamous Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. It is important to know that to climb these peaks, you need to buy separate tickets in advance. 

After the two-hour tour, take the bus back to Aguas Calientes to connect to your train to Ollantaytambo and your connecting transfer back to your hotel in The Sacred Valley.

Day 8: Tour the Sacred Valley: Ollantaytambo, Moray & Maras - Cusco

Inca Terraces

Spend the morning exploring the small historic town of Ollantaytambo, high in the Sacred Valley. Explore the surrounding stone fortresses, archeological ruins, and cobblestone streets of the town, which remain remarkably intact similar to their original appearances after construction by the Inca.

After, continue to Moray. Along the way, you'll enjoy views of the Andes' snow-capped peaks, lush yellow fields of wheat, and small villages. 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. 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. This spectacular area is perfect for you if you wish to see something different than the ruins.

After, continue to Cusco.

Day 9: Explore Cusco City, Sacsayhuaman, & San Pedro Market

View of Cusco's Plaza de Armas
View of Cusco's Plaza de Armas

Cusco is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries after conquering the Killke settlement on the same location.    

Remember: you will be 11,000 ft (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and 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. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • 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 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 next-door Quenqo, both archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals, located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city of Cusco. Built by the Killke people, Sacsayhuamán is a marvel of ancient architecture, a monolithic fortress built from giant blocks of stone, the origins and assembly of which remain a mystery.
  • Discover the elaborate Puca Pucara ruins—an architectural complex of alleged military use with multiple plazas, baths, aqueducts, walls, and towers. It is believed that the entourage of the Incan emperor used it while he stayed at Tambomachay, the elaborate estate and baths nearby.
  • Explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community.
  • Experience the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large and diverse market famous for its mouth-watering fruit juices, home-style meals, medicinal herb stalls, and rows of various meats, breads, vegetables, and other necessities.
  • Eat lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant and sample local flavors and cooking techniques—crackling pork, pickled vegetables, seasonal flavors, bread baked in earthen ovens, roasted vegetables, and sweet donuts make for a delicious and filling meal. 

Day 10: Rainbow Mountain (Mount Vinicunca) Hike

The vibrant colors of Rainbow Mountain

Today will begin with an early pick-up from your hotel in Cusco for the 3.5-hour drive to the start of the trek.

When we reach the trailhead, we'll enjoy some breakfast before starting the hike. After breakfast, we will begin the hike from Chillca, at 12,139 ft (3,700 m) elevation. From here, it will be a 4-hour uphill hike to reach the famous Rainbow Mountain.

Along the way, you will enjoy amazing views of the Andes, glacial peaks, red mountains, rocky hills, along with llamas and alpacas grazing along the valley. Once you arrive at the top of Rainbow Mountain, you will have enough time to absorb the majesty of the red mountains that surround this area. You will also see amazing views of the valleys and Ausangate Glacier Peak in front of you. Ausangate is the tallest mountain of the Cusco region (just under 21,000 ft elevation) and is part of the Cordillera Vilcanota Range.

After taking in the view, we'll descend back to our car and driver for the drive back to our hotel in Cusco

Day 11: Cusco to Lima, Depart Peru

The bustling city of Lima

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!

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