Active types will love this luxury tour across Peru's highlights, from its Spanish-colonial cities to its Inca monuments and citadels. Arrive in Lima, where you'll dine on Peruvian cuisine amid views of pre-Hispanic pyramids before trading city life for sandboarding on the otherworldly desert oasis at Ica. From there, you're off to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire and the nearby Machu Picchu, followed by a hike to one of Peru's famous rainbow mountains and time on the mystical waters of Lake Titicaca.


  • Explore the ancient pyramids and colonial landmarks around Lima
  • Ride buggies over the golden dunes at the desert oasis of Ica
  • Climb along a via ferrata and stay overnight at a cliffside hotel
  • Take two luxury Belmond trains to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Dinner at Huaca Pucllana Lima
Day 2 Lima City Tour, Lunch at Cala Restaurant  Lima
Day 3 Visit Pachacamac, Paso Horse Exhibition & Dinner at Maido Lima
Day 4 Fly to Ica, Pisco Tasting & Dune Buggies Ica
Day 5 Day Trip to the Ballestas Islands, Transfer to Lima Lima
Day 6 Fly to Cusco, Optional Activities Cusco
Day 7 Cusco City Tour & Inca Ruins Cusco
Day 8 Transfer to Pachar, Zipline & Overnight at Skylodge Sacred Valley
Day 9 ATV Ride to Moray & the Maras Salt Pans Sacred Valley
Day 10 Day Trip to Machu Picchu, Train to Cusco Cusco
Day 11 Day Trip to Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Cusco
Day 12 Andean Explorer Train to Puno Puno
Day 13 Day Trip to the Uros Floating Islands & Taquile Island Puno
Day 14 Fly to Lima, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Dinner at Huaca Pucllana

Check into your seaside hotel before seeing a pre-Hispanic pyramid (photo courtesy of JW Marriott Lima)

Welcome to Peru! This country is filled with wonders, both human-made and natural, from ancient Inca ruins and pre-Hispanic pyramids to green valleys and soaring Andes peaks. That's to say nothing of its colorful villages and sprawling cities abounding with well-preserved colonial architecture. You'll arrive in one such metropolis, Lima, which, besides its rich history, occupies an attractive location on the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

At the airport, a driver will pick you up for the 1.5-hour ride into the city and Miraflores. This upscale coastal suburb features some of the best dining and shopping in the city, as well as the JW Marriott, your hotel. Located mere steps from the beach, this 5-star highrise hotel offers elegant, spacious rooms with plush beds and crisp linens—all with ocean or city skyline views. You can also enjoy views of the Pacific while dining at La Vista, the hotel's gourmet Asian/Peruvian fusion restaurant. Take an evening cocktail at the Club Lounge, or relax in a lounger by the hotel pool, which also offers sea views.

After setting in, you'll get a taste of Peru's famous pre-Hispanic culture (both literally and figuratively) when you visit nearby Huaca Pucllana. This adobe pyramid was a vital ceremonial center in the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 CE and 700 CE. Adjacent to the site is a restaurant where you'll enjoy your maiden dinner in Peru. The diverse menu showcases the country's rich culinary heritage, with classic dishes, like ceviche, prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy your meal amid epic views of the illuminated ruins, creating a timeless ambience that combines history and gastronomy.

Day 2: Lima City Tour, Lunch at Cala Restaurant 

Tour the colorful colonial highlights of Lima with a private guide

Today you'll get to spend the day exploring the wonders of Lima and its hidden corners. Your private guide will pick you up after breakfast, and from there, you'll hit some of the top spots around Miraflores. First up is Parque del Amor (Love Park), which sits on Lima's famous coastal bluffs and is the perfect spot to enjoy a memorable sunset over the Pacific.

Then, head north to Museo Larco, a privately owned museum with a fine collection of pre-Hispanic art. Located inside a mansion built on a pre-Columbian pyramid, it's the best place in the city to view ancient gold and silver artifacts. From there, it's a short walk to Lima's historic center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and its Plaza de Armas (main square). Here, you'll visit impressive colonial landmarks, including Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion gifted by conquistador Francisco Pizarro to one of his captains in 1535.

Afterward, visit the Gran Hotel Bolívar. Built in 1924, this Art Deco wonder has a swank bar where you'll sip the famous Pisco Sour, which is made with grape brandy. Later, head south to the bohemian Barranco neighborhood, just south of Miraflores, which has been home to some of Lima's most renowned artists and writers. There will be a break for lunch at the oceanfront Cala Restaurant, where you can try famous dishes like ceviche and potato causa with lobster. After that, your guide will take you around to some fine galleries showcasing local talent. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 3: Visit Pachacamac, Paso Horse Exhibition & Dinner at Maido

Watch a Peruvian Paso exhibition, which combines horsemanship and traditional folklore

This morning, meet your guide for the drive about 19 miles (31 km) down the coast on the Pan-American Highway to the Pachacamac. Overlooking the Pacific, this 1,235-acre (500 ha) archaeological site comprises the remnants of an ancient ceremonial center. It was founded around 200 CE but peaked during the Inca Empire in the 15th-16th centuries. Pachacamac is renowned for its adobe pyramids and temples, constructed by successive cultures over centuries. Among the most notable are the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac, and the Acllahuasi.

After hiking around these landmarks, you'll return to Lima, stopping on the way at a historic hacienda for an exhibition of Peruvian Paso horses. The Peruvian Paso has a rich and storied history dating to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century when conquistadors brought horses to South America. They interbred with native horses and today are known for their smooth gait and elegant appearance. These horses hold a special place in Peruvian culture, symbolizing the country's rich equestrian heritage. After the exhibition, you'll sit down for a delicious country-style lunch, then return to your hotel.

In the evening, you've got a dinner reservation at Maido. Also located in Miraflores not far from your hotel, this world-renowned culinary destination is celebrated for its innovative Nikkei cuisine—a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavors. Over a couple of hours, you'll enjoy a multicourse tasting menu that showcases the best of Nikkei cuisine, celebrating the cultural diversity and culinary creativity born in the Japanese immigrant community in Peru. After all, the word "maido" means "welcome" in Japanese.

Day 4: Fly to Ica, Pisco Tasting & Dune Buggies

Experience the only natural oasis in South America: Laguna de la Huacachina

It's an early start, as you'll leave the hotel around 6 am for the transfer to the bus terminal. There, you'll board a coach for the 4.5-hour scenic ride south to Ica. The reason you won't be flying is because your ultimate destination is quite literally a desert oasis.

You'll arrive in the late morning, and a local guide will be waiting to whisk you over to a historic hacienda that has been producing Peru's famous pisco grape brandy for hundreds of years. You'll tour the hacienda grounds and vineyards, followed by a tasting of various piscos and delicious cocktails, like the tantalizingly sweet chilcano de pisco. The experience concludes with a three-course lunch followed by more Paso horse exhibitions.

Afterward, transfer to your accommodation in Ica, Las Dunas. Featuring a spa, tennis court, and three swimming pools (with water slides), this 4-star resort features spacious rooms with all creature comforts, including WiFi and smart TVs. After checking in, you'll transfer just outside Ica to the famous Laguna de la Huacachina. This storybook locale is recognized for being the only natural oasis in South America. After some time to explore on your own and snap photos, you'll cap the day with a thrilling ride across the dunes in a buggy, plus do some sandboarding.

Day 5: Day Trip to the Ballestas Islands, Transfer to Lima

Spot Humboldt penguins and other marine animals in the Ballestas Islands

After breakfast, you'll transfer from your hotel about an hour back to the coast. You'll arrive in Paracas, a town in the secluded coastal deserts of central Peru. At the pier, you'll board a boat for a full-day excursion to the famous Ballestas Islands. Known as the "Galápagos of Peru," this group of three main islands is home to thousands of seabirds, including Humboldt penguins, pelicans, and boobies, as well as colonies of sea lions and fur seals.

As the boat hops from island to island, your knowledgeable guide will impart fascinating info about the Ballestas and the resident wildlife. You'll learn all about the history of the islands, their geological formation, and the importance of protecting this biodiversity hotspot. The boat will also pass by The Chandelier, a mysterious geoglyph etched into the surface of a hill. The Chandelier is visible only from the sea, and its purpose and origin remain a mystery to this day.

At the end of the afternoon, you'll return to the pier in Paracas. There, you'll meet your driver for the four-hour ride back up the coast to Lima. Upon arrival, you'll check back into the JW Marriott in Miraflores.

Day 6: Fly to Cusco, Optional Activities

Get acquainted with Cusco, once the imperial headquarters of the Inca Kingdom

Say goodbye to coastal Peru because you're off to the southern Andes highlands. This storied region is filled with immense beauty, rich cultural heritage, and enough Inca ruins to keep travelers occupied for months. The day begins with a transfer to the airport, where you'll board the one-hour flight to Cusco. This area has been settled for thousands of years; however, it wasn't until 1200 CE that Cusco was officially founded as a center for Inca rule. It was the capital of the Inca Kingdom until the 16th-century Spanish conquest and even today retains a mix of colonial architecture and Inca archaeological sites.

A driver will pick you up at the airport for the ride to El Convento, another spectacular addition to the Marriott suite of hotels. As the name suggests, this 5-star hotel in Cusco's historic center occupies the former convent of San Agustín, which dates to the 16th century. The building retains its colonial charm while offering elegantly appointed guest rooms with views overlooking Cusco's Plaza de Armas (main square) and 17th-century Cathedral. Also on site is a Peruvian fusion restaurant and a spa/wellness center offering treatments inspired by ancient Andean healing traditions.

After settling in, feel free to hit Cusco's famous cobbled streets on a self-guided tour. Besides the highlights in and around the Plaza de Armas, you can visit San Pedro, the city's most famous municipal market, to browse fresh produce, handmade garments, and artistic crafts. Just try not to overdo it: Cusco sits at 11,152 feet (3,339 m) above sea level, so give your body time to acclimate.

Day 7: Cusco City Tour & Inca Ruins

Tour former Inca military fortifications in and around Cusco, like Sacsayhuamán
Plan your trip to Peru
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today you get to explore Cusco! Meet your guide early and set off on foot to visit some of the most fascinating sites in the historic center. Stroll down cobbled streets to iconic landmarks like the Plaza de Armas and Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun). During Inca reign in the 15th century, this was Cusco's religious and political center. From here, walk down Hatunrumiyoc Street and admire the ancient Inca walls, particularly the 12-Angle Stone, so named because its dozen angles fit perfectly in the surrounding stones. It's a shining example of the ancient Incas' stonemasonry prowess.

Then transfer 2.5 miles (4 km) outside the city to Sacsayhuamán. This former Inca religious center and military complex is a monolithic fortress built from giant limestone blocks. After exploring Sacsayhuamán's vast terraces and high walls, you'll hike down an ancient Inca road back to Cusco, passing through small villages with excellent countryside views. Just outside the city, you'll stop at Q'enco, an archaeological complex of impressive rock formations that once served as a ceremonial center dedicated to religious rituals and astronomical observations.

From there, continue to Puca Pucara. Translating to "Red Fortress" in Quechua, this ancient military complex served as a defensive outpost and/or administrative site for the Inca Empire. The tour culminates with a stop at Tambomachay, an ancient complex shrouded in mystery, comprised of aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls believed to have been a ceremonial site dedicated to water worship and purification rituals. Later, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 8: Transfer to Pachar, Zipline & Overnight at Skylodge

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime overnight stay on a cliffside (photo courtesy of Skylodge)

Enjoy a relaxed morning at your hotel and take advantage of the extensive breakfast spread at the Marriott buffet. Around midday, a driver will pick you up for the 1.5-hour ride north out of Cusco and into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Extending along the Urubamba River, the valley encompasses picturesque villages, archaeological sites, and gorgeous highland scenery. Your destination is the village of Pachar, a convenient base for excursions in the region—which is exactly what you're here for.

Transfer to a rocky hillside near the village, where you'll meet your guide for the day and strap into your safety equipment. Then, you'll climb 1,312 feet (400 m) up the side of the cliff on a via ferrata, a series of metal steps built into the wall. It's easier than rock climbing but still a fun challenge. From the top, descend into the valley on a series of exhilarating ziplines as you glide across the landscapes.

Afterward, you'll transfer to your accommodation for the night. Skylodge is a unique concept in the world of hospitality—one ideally suited for adventurers and rock climbers. Suspended on a cliffside overlooking the Sacred Valley, Skylodge consists of transparent capsules offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Arriving there requires a bit of mountaineering, as it's a quick ascent up a system of metal stairways to the reception desk. After check-in, you'll be led to your own private capsule. Then, feel free to relax in one of the lodge's hanging outdoor Jacuzzis. 

Day 9: ATV Ride to Moray & the Maras Salt Pans

Salineras de Maras & Moray Archaeological Site on ATVs 🏍️⚡
Start your engines for a ride around the Sacred Valley in an ATV

You've seen the Sacred Valley from the tops of mountains, now it's time to zip across its landscapes on a thrilling ATV (quad bike) excursion. With the wind in your face and a pro guide leading the way, you'll hit the trail on an off-roading adventure to the archaeological site of Moray, passing golden wheat fields and snowcapped Andean peaks on the way.

Eventually, you'll arrive at Moray, an awe-inspiring complex of stone amphitheaters developed by the Inca. While the exact reason for the site's construction remains unknown, historians believe the Inca constructed it to experiment with crop production in different microclimates.

After hiking around Moray, you'll continue on the quad to the Maras Salt Pans, a photogenic patchwork of salt pans perched on a hillside. These saline pools are fed by natural springs at the top of the valley and have been used for salt production since Inca times. After hiking around the site and snapping a few pics, you'll ride back to the starting point and transfer back to the Skylodge.

Day 10: Day Trip to Machu Picchu, Train to Cusco

Explore the ancient citadel at Machu Picchu with an expert guide

All aboard the exclusive Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu! This luxury Belmond train departs from the Sacred Valley and features Art Deco cars decked out with gleaming wood-panel interiors and brass finishes, evoking the 1920s Orient Express. During the 3.5-hour relaxing ride, you'll enjoy first-class service as you marvel at views of the Urubamba River and Andes peaks through the windows. You can spend the journey in the train's observatory bar car, sipping a smart cocktail like a pisco sour before sitting down to a gourmet three-course lunch.

Your destination is the town of Aguas Calientes. This is the main hub for excursions up the mountain to the UNESCO-listed Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Upon arrival, you'll board a bus for the 25-minute ride up the mountain to Machu Picchu at 7,970 feet (2,430 m), which dates to around 1450 CE.

During a tour led by an expert guide, you'll hike around the complex and visit its famous landmarks, including astronomical/ritual stone structures like the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon. Many landmarks, like the Sacred Plaza and Inca Bridge, showcase the Incas' architectural prowess. The agricultural terraces are also impressive, demonstrating the Incas' skill at cultivating crops on steep hillsides. After the tour, you'll return to the terminal and board a train for the four-hour ride back to Cusco, where you'll check back into El Convento.

Day 11: Day Trip to Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Hike an easy trail to get to one of Peru's famous "painted mountains"

You'll be treated to another of Peru's natural wonders this morning as you meet your driver for the two-hour ride south of Cusco to Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain. This active excursion involves an easy hike that begins with your arrival at the trailhead near the town of Palccoyo. From there, it's an hour's walk to the star of the show.

Once you've reached the end of the trail, you'll be wowed by this awesome spectacle of Mother Nature. Highlights of Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain include its striking geological formations, which display a dazzling array of colors ranging from red and pink to green and turquoise. The distinct patterns and hues are the result of mineral deposits and sedimentary layers exposed over millions of years.

This is a mini-hike perfect for travelers who want to see the colorful mountains of the region without the extra effort of a full day high-altitude hike. Unlike the more famous Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain, Palccoyo is more accessible to a wider range of visitors. At the end of the excursion, you'll transfer back to your hotel in Cusco.

Day 12: Andean Explorer Train to Puno

Board an overnight luxury train to Puno and Lake Titicaca (photo courtesy of Belmond Andean Explorer)

Say goodbye to Cusco! This morning, you'll return to the train station and hop aboard the Andean Explorer. This luxury rail line offers various routes around the Andes, including today's journey from Cusco to Puno. A large and colorful city in southeastern Peru, Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America by volume.

The ride to Puno takes around 10-12 hours, and during the trip, you'll enjoy onboard entertainment, live music, and gourmet dining. Throughout the journey, you'll be treated to views of the passing Andean landscapes, including snowcapped peaks, terraced hillsides, and picturesque villages.

For the rest of your time in Peru, you'll sleep on board the train in luxurious, well-appointed cabins. The Andean Explorer's sleeper cars feature single or double beds, private bathrooms, and all the amenities needed for a comfortable journey. Of course, each gourmet meal you take on the train will be prepared by onboard chefs using locally sourced ingredients. 

Day 13: Day Trip to the Uros Floating Islands & Taquile Island

Uros floating island on Lake Titicaca
Learn how the Uros people have been living on floating islands for thousands of years

Welcome to Puno! You'll likely pull into the station in time to catch the sunrise over Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,507 feet (3,812 m). After breakfast on the train, meet your guide and transfer to the harbor, where you'll board a boat to the famous Uros Islands—human-made floating islets constructed out of the abundant reeds that grow around the lake.

The Uros were one of the first groups to populate this region thousands of years even before the Incas. They'll welcome you to the island to learn about their culture and traditions. The residents are happy to share, as they supplement their hunting/fishing economy by offering tours and selling handicrafts.

After the floating islands, you'll continue by boat further east to Taquilie Island. This terra firma islet isn't only beautiful, but it's also renowned for its rich cultural heritage. The island is Inhabited by the Taquileños, a Quechua-speaking community comprised of artisans who weave colorful textiles using traditional techniques passed down through generations. When you arrive, you'll sit down at a restaurant for a traditional lunch of local favorites, including quinoa soup and fresh-caught lake trout. At the end of the afternoon, you'll return to Puno and spend one more night on the train.

Day 14: Fly to Lima, Depart

Until next time, Peru!
You've reached the end of the journey, for now. Enjoy one more leisurely breakfast in Puno, followed by a transfer to the airport, where you'll board a plane to Lima. You'll land in time to make your connecting flight home, thus concluding your grand Peruvian adventure. Until next time! 

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Map of Luxurious Peru Adventure for Active Travelers - 14 Days
Map of Luxurious Peru Adventure for Active Travelers - 14 Days