This 10-day luxury vacation takes you from the dazzling Inca highlights of its famous southern highlands to the wide and inviting beaches of its extensive Pacific coastline. The adventure begins in the capital of Lima, where you'll marvel at local art and dive into Peru's world-famous culinary scene. Then fly to the highlands to visit the most famous Inca ruins in the region, from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, before kicking back in a coastal resort with access to sand dunes and the "Galápagos of Peru."


  • See the artistic side of Lima and sample local cuisine on a private tour
  • Hike around the Andes and participate in cooking and music workshops
  • Visit highlight Andean landmarks, like Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
  • Spot exotic marine animals during a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, Barranco Art & Food Tour Lima
Day 2 Fly to Cusco, Highland Horseback Ride Cusco
Day 3 Transfer to the Sacred Valley, Music Ceremony & Hacienda Lunch Sacred Valley
Day 4 Hike to Ollantaytambo, Andean Cooking Workshop Sacred Valley
Day 5 Luxury Train to Aguas Calientes, Visit Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco Cusco
Day 6 Day Trip to Sacsayhuamán & City Tour, Dinner at MAP Café Cusco
Day 7 Fly to Lima, Transfer to Paracas & Horseback Riding Paracas
Day 8 Day Trip to the Ballestas Islands, Pisco Distillery Tour Paracas
Day 9 Visit a Scallop Farm, Ride Dune Buggies, Enjoy a Sunset Picnic Paracas
Day 10 Transfer to Lima, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, Barranco Art & Food Tour

Start your trip in Barranco, the bohemian district of Lima on the Pacific Ocean

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. South America's third-largest country is a treasure trove of wonders you could spend an entire lifetime discovering. With 10 days to spare, however, this well-rounded itinerary delivers the best in culture, history, food, and gorgeous beaches. It all kicks off with your arrival in the capital of Lima. A driver will be waiting to transfer you 1.5 hours from the airport into the city proper and your hotel.

Hotel B is a 4-star option in the bohemian Barranco district. Built in the Belle Époque style, this mansion was originally a seaside retreat for an aristocratic family in the 1920s. It retains its Art Deco charm, featuring elegant suites outfitted with smart TVs and king beds. You can dine at the hotel's gourmet fusion restaurant, which serves contemporary Peruvian cuisine with international influences. Save your appetite, however, because after checking in, you're off to discover the joys of Barranco on a combined art and food tour.

Meet a local guide for a walk around, stopping at local cafés, eateries, and shops to try Peruvian snacks. This includes the renowned ceviche and causa limeña (layers of mashed potato filled with chicken or fish). Each dish tells a story of Peru's history and culinary evolution. You'll also stop at El Cacaotal to sample four different types of artisanal chocolates, learning about their origins deriving from rich Peruvian cacao (cocoa). The excursion culminates with a trip to Museo Jade Rivera, which showcases the work of renowned urban artist and muralist Jade Rivera.

Day 2: Fly to Cusco, Highland Horseback Ride

Check into your hotel in Cusco before horseback riding (photo courtesy of Belmond Palacio Nazcarenas)

Say goodbye to the coast (for now) because this morning, you'll transfer to the airport for the one-hour flight to Cusco. Located in the highlands, 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 Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Today, the city features an incredible mix of Spanish-colonial architecture and ancient Inca archaeological sites.

Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in the city, Belmond Palacio Nazcarenas. This 5-star hotel in Cusco's historic center is a short walk from the Plaza de Armas (main square). It's located in a 16th-century former palace that has been meticulously restored, featuring spacious and elegantly appointed rooms and suites with colonial-era architecture, modern amenities, and luxurious furnishings. There's also a heated pool to combat that highland chill, plus a spa and wellness center, various gourmet restaurants, and 24-hour personal butler service.

After checking in, you'll meet a guide and travel a few minutes outside Cusco to the stables at Fundo Molleray farm. There, you'll meet your horse, saddle up, and set off on the trail, riding by agricultural fields, over rivers, and through eucalyptus forests. At the sacred mountain of Wilcarpay, you'll stop to meet local villagers for a cultural exchange. From there, it's a short ride along an ancient Inca pathway to the Huillca Raccay archaeological site. This lesser-known site comprises the ruins of an Inca hill fort, and it's a point on the famous Inca Trail hike from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

Day 3: Transfer to the Sacred Valley, Music Ceremony & Hacienda Lunch

Look for Indigenous markets and soaring Andes peaks as you travel around the Sacred Valley

After breakfast, you'll meet your driver and transfer about 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 town of Pisac, where you'll be welcomed into the home of Vicente Rayo.

Sr. Rayo runs Sonidos del Ande, a music project that preserves and promotes the heritage of prehispanic instruments in Peru. The ancestral melodies produced by these ancient instruments, which include clay whistles, represent the sounds of the Andes and the spirit of cultures dating back to Inca times and before. Sr. Rayo and his wife will lead you on a walk around the property with their animals (mainly llamas and alpacas), followed by joining in a "sound ceremony" where you'll learn to play ancient instruments.

Afterward, you'll visit Hacienda Sarapampa, a country estate near Pisac. Here, you'll sit down with Maria del Pilar and Jussef, your friendly hosts, for a private lunch followed by a guided tour of the hacienda grounds. Later, head to the town of Urubamba and your hotel, Sol y Luna. Another historic estate, each of the forty-three casitas (bungalows) at Sol y Luna, is surrounded by gardens and faces the soaring Andes Mountains. The suites feature high ceilings, terra cotta tile floors, spacious marble baths, Spanish colonial-style furniture, and king king-size bed with goose-down duvets.

Day 4: Hike to Ollantaytambo, Andean Cooking Workshop

See some of Peru's most incredible Inca sites while exploring Ollantaytambo

Leave this morning on a trek to the ancient city of Ollantaytambo. This highland town and archaeological site is one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that has retained its original Inca urban planning. It begins with a transfer to the town of Pachar. At the trailhead, set off on an easy, hourlong hike to Ollantaytambo, passing local farms and traditional mud-brick houses. Once in Ollantaytambo, you'll visit well-preserved ruins, including ancient canals and Inca-era homes. Then, hike up the hillside agricultural terraces to enjoy sweeping views of the valley and surrounding towns.

Afterward, dive even deeper into traditional Andean culture in a cooking workshop. This 1.5-hour experience focuses on the regional culinary practice of Pachamanca, which means Earth Pot. It's an ancient cooking technique that involves preparing food underground using leaves and preheated stones. After a welcome cocktail, learn about the history of Pachamanca as your local instructor prepares a few traditional dishes. At the end of the demonstration, everyone will sit down to a meal featuring Andean staples like potatoes, aromatic herbs, and lamb. Later, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 5: Luxury Train to Aguas Calientes, Visit Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco

Hike around the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu (and make friends with llamas)
Plan your trip to Peru
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

All aboard the exclusive Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu! This luxury Belmond train departs from the station right by your hotel 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 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 return to the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas.

Day 6: Day Trip to Sacsayhuamán & City Tour, Dinner at MAP Café

Learn how Sacsayhuamán was a formidable defensive structure during the Inca era

Machu Picchu is just one of many famous archaeological sites throughout Peru. This morning, you'll meet a local guide and 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 the 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. 

In the evening, you'll sit down for a very special dinner at MAP Café. One of the most dazzling culinary experiences in the city, this restaurant is inside the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, surrounded by an impressive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and artwork. Over a couple of hours, you'll enjoy a seven-course tasting menu highlighting the best of Peru and paired with fine wines sourced locally and internationally. Famous dishes include ceviche, quinoa risotto, and MAP Café's take on the classic Peruvian stir-fry dish, lomo saltado.

Day 7: Fly to Lima, Transfer to Paracas & Horseback Riding

Leave the city behind as you relax and recharge on the beaches of Peru

Say goodbye to the Andes, as this morning, you'll take the popular hourlong flight from Cusco back to Lima. At the airport, a driver will pick you up for the 3 to 4-hour ride down the Pan American Highway to Paracas. It's a scenic drive that follows along the gorgeous Pacific coast. Plus, there will be a stop on the way at a local ranch to visit the stables of a local breeder who raises Peruvian Pasos, the famous breed of light saddle horse.

After a brisk horseback ride, you'll continue on to Paracas, a resort area in the secluded coastal deserts of central Peru. Famous for its golden sands fronting turquoise waters, Paracas is also rich in biodiversity, as the offshore Ballestas Islands are known as the "Galápagos of Peru," home to thousands of seabirds, including Humboldt penguins, pelicans, and boobies, as well as colonies of sea lions and fur seals. Also here is Paracas National Reserve, a protected area known for its dramatic desert landscapes, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife.

As it happens, you'll be staying right next to this protected area at Hotel Paracas. Located on the water, this beach resort has its own private jetty used to run boat tours into the reserve. As for amenities, the resort features multiple pools surrounded by lush gardens and a spa and wellness center. Plus, every suite offers jaw-dropping views of the Pacific coastline and offshore islands. 

Day 8: Day Trip to the Ballestas Islands, Pisco Distillery Tour

Keep an eye out for penguins congregating on the rocks at the Ballestas Islands

Indulge your inner naturalist on a half-day adventure to the Ballestas Islands. The speedboat leaves in the morning right from your hotel pier, and from there, you'll zip across the water on a quick trip to the "Galápagos of Peru." As you cruise around the Ballestas' three main islands, you'll observe exotic marine life and avian species such as sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas, Inca terns, Peruvian boobies, oystercatchers, and more. Keep your camera ready, as you'll have plenty of opportunities to snap epic shots of the area's wildlife in its natural habitat.

Throughout the trip, your knowledgeable guide will impart fascinating information about the islands and their resident wildlife. You'll learn all about the history of the Ballestas 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.

After returning to the pier, you'll transfer by vehicle inland to La Caravedo. This distillery produces pisco, the grape brandy regarded as Peru's national spirit. Moreover, it's the oldest such distillery in the nation, dating to the 17th century. On a tour of the vineyards and production facilities, you'll enjoy a tasting of the top five piscos produced on-site. Capping the tour is a traditional lunch, after which you'll return to your hotel.

Day 9: Visit a Scallop Farm, Ride Dune Buggies, Enjoy a Sunset Picnic

Picnic Sunset Desert Adventure
Explore the rolling dunes on foot and via buggy before a sunset picnic 

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by some relaxation by the pool or perhaps a kayak ride or standup paddleboarding session along the coast. Around midday, you'll meet a local guide, hop in a vehicle, and transfer to Paracas National Reserve. During this outing, you'll stop at prime viewpoints to snap photos of secluded beaches where rocky desert cliffs collide with the Pacific Ocean. For lunch, you'll visit a nearby restaurant and scallop farm. Not only will you sample some of the best (and freshest) shellfish anywhere, but you'll also tour the operation and learn all about the process of scallop farming.

Afterward, return to your hotel for a bit of free time in the afternoon. A little later, you'll meet another guide for the 30-minute ride inland, where the coastal cliffs give way to huge rolling dunes. Upon arrival at this "California Desert," you'll meet a team of expert desert drivers and trade your regular vehicle for a dune buggy. After loading sandboards into the buggy, you'll set off on a thrilling ride up and over the dunes like you're on an arid roller coaster.

Along the way, your team will stop at the best spots to carve sand on the board. Then, just before sunset, you'll transfer to a special lookout point on the dunes, throw down a blanket, and enjoy a picnic and sundowner glasses of wine as the last rays of light gild the Peruvian coast, punctuating your time in this ancient and beautiful country. After the sunset, return to your hotel.

Day 10: Transfer to Lima, Depart

Savor your last morning in Peru with a coastal walk (photo courtesy of Hotel Paracas)
Your whirlwind trip through Peru has reached its conclusion. If time allows, squeeze in one more coastal walk at your hotel before departure. Your driver will pick you up in the morning at your hotel in Paracas for the scenic three-hour drive up the coast to Lima. You'll arrive just in time to catch your departing flight. Come back soon!

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Map of Outdoor Luxury Tour of Peru's Mountains & Coastline - 10 Days
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