This two-week holiday is packed with adventures throughout Peru, starting in the dynamic capital of Lima, with its coastal bluffs, historic Spanish-colonial center, and mind-blowing cuisine. Then, kick things up a notch on a trip to the southern highlands and imperial Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the jewel in the crown: Machu Picchu. Not to be outdone, the trip finishes with three days of nature excursions on a luxury Amazon cruise where you'll return to the boat each night to dine in style.


  • Experience the highlights of Lima, from its renowned cuisine to its fine museums
  • Tour the cobbled streets of Cusco, the Inca's imperial capital, and visit ancient ruins
  • Board a luxury train from Peru's Sacred Valley to the ancient citadel Machu Picchu
  • Embark on a real-life jungle cruise on the Peruvian Amazon aboard a luxury ship

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 Lima Free Day, Dinner at Astrid y Gastón Lima
Day 4 Fly to Cusco, Visit the Planetarium Cusco
Day 5 Cusco City Tour Cusco
Day 6 Transfer to the Sacred Valley, Visit Ollantaytambo Sacred Valley
Day 7 Sacred Valley Day Tour, Inca Dinner at Mil Centro Sacred Valley
Day 8 Luxury Train to Machu Picchu Aguas Calientes
Day 9 Machu Picchu (Day 2), Luxury Train to Cusco Cusco
Day 10 San Pedro Market Tour & Cooking Class, Pisco Cocktail Tour  Cusco
Day 11 Fly to Iquitos, Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 1) Iquitos
Day 12 Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 2) Iquitos
Day 13 Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 3) Iquitos
Day 14 Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 4), Depart Peru  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Dinner at Huaca Pucllana

Head to the rooftop pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean (photo courtesy of Belmond Miraflores Park)

Welcome to Peru! South America's third-largest country packs outsized wonders, from its countless ancient ruins and colorful Spanish-colonial architecture to its gorgeous Andes highlands and northern Amazon jungles. Complimenting all this eye candy is a rich history, incredible cuisine, and deep cultural heritage reflected in the friendliness of its people. You'll experience these virtues when you arrive in Lima, one of the most beguiling coastal capitals on the continent. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to the upscale waterfront suburb of Miraflores.

There, you'll check into Belmond Miraflores Park. This 5-star hotel is set amid verdant gardens and is known for its exceptional service and dazzling sea views. Many of the Belmond's well-appointed rooms and suites feature private balconies overlooking the Pacific. Other welcome features include a spa/wellness center and a rooftop pool where you can relax after the long flight in a sun lounger. There are many dining options at the hotel, including the acclaimed Tragaluz restaurant, serving innovative Peruvian/international cuisine.

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 

Among other stops, visit Peru's historic center to see colonial landmarks

Rise and shine! Today, You get to explore the wonders of Lima and its hidden corners. Your guide will pick you up around 9 am, 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, return to your hotel.

Day 3: Lima Free Day, Dinner at Astrid y Gastón

Take a stroll around Love Park near your hotel in Miraflores

The day is yours to discover Lima on your own. After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you can hit the streets on a self-guided tour. If you like, return to the historic center and marvel at the major sites, like the 18th-century Lima Metropolitan Cathedral. Its awe-inspiring facade mixes a variety of architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Later in the day, you can return to Miraflores in time to relax in Love Park and snap sunset photos over the bluffs.

In the evening, dress sharp because you've snagged an exclusive reservation at Astrid y Gastón. Located in the chic San Isidro neighborhood, this is one of the most renowned restaurants in South America, set in a beautiful colonial-style mansion amid lush gardens and charming courtyards. Amid this elegant ambience, you'll enjoy elevated takes on Peruvian classics, like ceviche, anticuchos (grilled skewers) of octopus and beef hearts, and tiraditos, thinly sliced raw fish similar to sashimi. Cap the meal with a decadent dessert featuring rich and velvety Peruvian cacao (cocoa) paired with tropical fruits.

Day 4: Fly to Cusco, Visit the Planetarium

Check into your hotel in Cusco and relax before visiting a planetarium (photo courtesy of El Convento)

Say goodbye to Lima 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, a 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.

Spend the rest of the day enjoying the hotel amenities, or explore Cusco on your own. At 5:30 pm, your driver will take you to the famous Cusco Planetarium. Here, you'll get to peer through telescopes at the night sky as knowledgeable astronomer guides offer insight into the stars, planets, and constellations above the Andean horizon. You'll also learn about the sophisticated astronomical knowledge of the ancient Incas, who observed the movements of the stars and planets with remarkable accuracy and incorporated celestial observations into their religious and agricultural practices.

Day 5: Cusco City Tour

Hit the cobbled streets of Cusco on a city tour with a private guide

This morning, you'll meet a private guide for a full-day tour to discover the highlights in and around Cusco. It begins around 9 am with a trip to San Pedro, the city's most famous municipal market. There, you'll see where the locals congregate as you browse fresh produce, handmade garments, and artistic crafts.

Then, transfer 2.5 miles (4 km) outside the city to Sacsayhuamán. This former Inca religious center and military complex is a marvel of ancient architecture—a monolithic fortress built from giant limestone blocks. Even to this day, the exact century of its construction remains a mystery. 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.

The route will lead you to Cusco's bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, with its cobbled streets and artisan workshops. Nearby is the historic city center, where you'll visit 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.  

Day 6: Transfer to the Sacred Valley, Visit Ollantaytambo

Explore the town and archaeological site of Ollantaytambo in Peru's Sacred Valley
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After an early breakfast, meet your driver and transfer 9 miles (15 km) north of Cusco to 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 colorful town of Pisac, where you can stop for a stroll along its narrow cobbled alleyways and browse its artisanal market.

Next, enjoy a warm welcome at the renowned Huayoccari Hacienda. This rural manor home and restaurant dates to the 17th century and is owned by the Lámbarri Orihuela family. You'll take a walk around the lush grounds dotted with eucalyptus and pisonay trees, followed by an inside tour to view the hacienda's fine collection of Peruvian art. Then, enjoy an aperitif pisco sour (Peru's national cocktail) before sitting down to a hearty country lunch in the dining room.

After eating, you'll continue to Ollantaytambo, a highland town and archaeological site that's one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that has retained its original Inca urban planning. The day concludes with a visit to a local chichería to observe the process of making this famous artisanal beverage fermented from maize (corn). Afterward, transfer Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba. This contemporary, hacienda-style hotel sits on 100 acres (40 ha) of prime Sacred Valley countryside, surrounded by soaring Andes peaks.

Day 7: Sacred Valley Day Tour, Inca Dinner at Mil Centro

Sacred Valley Inmersion
Look for camelids like llamas while touring around the Sacred Valley

Today you'll embark on a full-day tour of the Sacred Valley. The first stop is at Chinchero, a traditional village where the Incas believed the rainbow was born. Here, you'll rendezvous with skilled artisans who will demonstrate their prowess in handcrafting beautiful textiles through ancient practices and ancestral dying techniques. Then, tour the town's ancient Inca archaeological complex and the 16th-century colonial church, which offers dazzling mountain views. The visit concludes with a stroll through the artisan marketplace lining the cobbled alleyways, where you can browse handmade garments and crafts.

Next up are two more legendary sites in the Sacred Valley. The first is the Maras Salt Pans, a massive 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. Afterward, you'll visit Moray, an incredible complex of stone amphitheaters developed by the Inca. While the exact reason for the construction of this site remains unknown, historians believe the Inca constructed it in order to experiment with crop production in different micro-climates.

After the tour, you'll transfer to the exclusive Mil Centro. Located in a mud-brick building on a hill overlooking Moray, this unassuming eatery is actually one of the finest and most exclusive restaurants in all of Peru. The eight-course tasting menu from chef Virgilio Martínez is as much a cultural tour as it is a culinary adventure, recounting Inca history through locally sourced Andean ingredients and ancient cooking techniques. After the dining experience, you'll return to your hotel and participate in an evening ritual to show gratitude to Pachamama (Mother Earth), a local tradition.

Day 8: Luxury Train to Machu Picchu

Travel in style on a Hiram Bingham railway trip to Aguas Calientes

All aboard the exclusive Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu! This luxury Belmond train departs from the station in the Sacred Valley and is decked out with Art Deco cars 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 transfer over to the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel located right at the entrance to Machu Picchu. Overnighting at this stylish retreat lets you beat the citadel's mass crowds. This 5-star hotel also offers a range of welcome amenities for the weary traveler, such as Inca spa rituals to nourish your spirit and soothe your weary muscles after a day hiking around the citadel.

It will come in handy because, after check-in, 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.

Day 9: Machu Picchu (Day 2), Luxury Train to Cusco

Spend quality time hiking around Machu Picchu, one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the world

One day at Machu Picchu simply isn't enough, which is why this morning, you'll return to the citadel a second time. It's a great opportunity to walk amid more well-preserved ruins plus embark on one of the additional hikes in the area. The most famous are the routes up the tallest peaks rising above the citadel: Huayna Picchu at 8,920 feet (2,720 m) and Montaña Machu Picchu at 10,111 feet (3,082 m). Both involve rigorous uphill (at times almost vertical) hikes, and both reward your effort with great views over the citadel and the Andes below.

You'll no doubt be sore after all that hiking, which is fine because, after this half-day excursion, you'll board the luxurious Hiram Bingham train once again for the relaxing three-hour ride southeast to Cusco. Upon arrival you'll return to El Convento and will have the rest of the day free to relax at the hotel.

Day 10: San Pedro Market Tour & Cooking Class, Pisco Cocktail Tour 

Grab a stool at the San Pedro municipal market and order fresh juice and street food

Head over to Cusco's most famous municipal market this morning to discover the flavors and culture of Peru. There's no better way to know the soul of this city than by browsing its vendor kiosks and marveling at the sheer abundance of fresh produce, which includes many of Peru's thousands of varieties of potatoes. You'll also want to sit down at one of the food stalls for fresh fruit juice and to snack on some street food.

This is a guided tour during which you'll learn about the origins of the many items on display. You'll also pick up some fresh produce and continue on foot to a nearby restaurant. During a cooking workshop here, you'll learn the techniques and secrets to producing some of the country's most emblematic dishes. At the end of the experience, everyone will sit down and enjoy these creations for lunch.

After the culinary workshop, you'll have the rest of the day free to enjoy Cusco on your own. Later, head over to the Plaza de Armas for an evening cocktail tour around the historic center. As you hop around different watering holes, you'll learn to prepare Peru's signature cocktails, many of which feature pisco, the popular grape brandy and national spirit. Besides the famous pisco sour, you'll learn to make pisco drinks that combine a variety of ingredients, from ginger to coca leaves.

Day 11: Fly to Iquitos, Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 1)

Aqua Nera - Amazon Jungle Luxury Cruise
All aboard the Aqua Nera for a memorable ride down the Amazon

Today you're off to the Amazon! In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport and board a connecting flight to the far north of Peru and Iquitos. This port city sits on the Amazon River, the longest river in the world by volume. It's the gateway to the natural wonders, exotic wildlife, and tribal villages that define this lush corner of South America. There's much to recommend Iquitos; its bustling marketplaces are hotbeds of culture, and its cuisine is influenced by the rich biodiversity of the Amazon, featuring freshwater fish, exotic fruits, and native plants.

Over the next few days, you'll experience the wonders of the region on an adventurous river cruise. Upon arrival at the airport, representatives from Aqua Nera will pick you up for the transfer to the port where your luxury cruise ship awaits. Upon boarding the ship, you'll be shown to your cabin, which features deluxe suites with king beds and fine Peruvian linens. As for cuisine, expect 5-star service in the opulent dining room with wraparound windows looking out over the water.

After settling into your suite, you can head to the top deck to admire the riverine scenery as the ship pulls away from the port and your grand Amazon adventure commences. It's a great opportunity to enjoy a golden sunset over the river while keeping an eye on the treeline to spot exotic animals like monkeys, macaws, toucans, and more. Know that each day you spend on the water will be filled with various tours and excursions, so be sure to rest up tonight—you're exploring the rainforest tomorrow!

Day 12: Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 2)

Go ashore for nature hikes and spot three-toed sloths in the trees

After breakfast on the ship, you'll transfer to a smaller tour boat for a ride down the Yacapana River, one of the Amazon's tributaries. Keep your binoculars handy because you're bound to see exotic avian species, like tropical songbirds, black-collared hawks, and sloths. You can also grab a pole and fish for voracious piranhas while your naturalist guide imparts fascinating knowledge of the Amazon.

In the afternoon, you'll continue to Yarapa, a blackwater river that's a tributary of the Ucayali. From there, embark on a nature excursion then watch the sunset over the river as the nocturnal wildlife emerges from its daily slumber. In the evening, you'll transfer back to the cruise ship.

Day 13: Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 3)

Aqua Nera - Amazon Jungle Luxury Cruise - 3
Watch for pink river dolphins performing aquatic acrobatics in the Amazon

It's another day packed full of Amazon excursions. In the morning, you'll board a tour boat and transfer over to an inland lake and local village. Here, you'll see residents traveling around in traditional wooden canoes. Feel free to take a dip in the lake, after which you can spend time with the Amazonian locals and enjoy a cultural exchange. Later in the afternoon, you'll continue in the skiff down the Marañón River to spot wildlife like caiman, river otters, and pink dolphins. Dinner will be served back on the cruise ship, followed by some time spent getting to know the crew.

Day 14: Luxury Amazon Cruise (Day 4), Depart Peru

Wake early to see your last sunrise in Peru's Amazon region

With a heavy heart, it's time to bid farewell to the wonders of the Amazon and Peru. First, though, you'll disembark the ship in the morning and meet your guide for a tour of the local market. Browse the many vendor stalls and meet locals as you discover the unique bounty provided by the rainforest, which includes fruits like acai, dragonfruit, and maracuyá (passion fruit). After the tour, you'll return to the boat for breakfast.

Then, transfer from the port to the airport in Iquitos. There's one last stop on the way, at Centro de Rescate Amazonico, an organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of river mammals. During a tour, you'll meet baby manatees and learn about these wonderful and docile creatures and why they're on the endangered species list. Afterward, you'll continue to the airport and board your connecting flight home. Safe travels! 

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