Uncover Peru's natural and cultural wonders on this comprehensive 16-day trip. Begin in the north-coast desert, where you'll discover archaeological sites and ancient pyramids, then spot endangered wildlife on a four-night cruise through the Amazon Rainforest. Next, tour Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley, including UNESCO-listed Machu Picchu, before heading south to witness marine life in Paracas National Reserve, camp among the Huacachina dunes, and fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines.


  • Enjoy hikes and wildlife sightings during an Amazon Rainforest cruise
  • Discover archaeological sites, pyramids, and desert ruins in the north
  • Tour Inca relics in the Sacred Valley and UNESCO-listed Machu Picchu
  • Spot marine life on a boat trip to the Islas Ballestas in the Pacific Ocean
  • Zipline over the Huacachina dunes at sunset, followed by a barbecue

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lima, City Tour & Larco Museum Lima
Day 2 Fly to Trujillo, Visit Huaca de La Luna & Chan Chan Trujillo
Day 3 Transfer to Tucume, Visit Huaca El Brujo Tucume
Day 4 Visit the Pyramids of Tucume, Transfer to Ollantaytambo Tucume
Day 5 Train to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu Tour Ollantaytambo
Day 6 Sacred Valley Tour Cusco
Day 7 Cusco City Tour, Fly to Lima Lima
Day 8 Fly to Iquitos, Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 1) Iquitos
Day 9 Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 2) Iquitos
Day 10 Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 3) Iquitos
Day 11 Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 4) Iquitos
Day 12 Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 5), Fly to Lima Lima
Day 13 Transfer to Paracas, Visit Pachacamac & Paracas National Reserve Paracas
Day 14 Tambo Colorado Day Trip Paracas
Day 15 Islas Ballestas Boat Trip & Huacachina Sand Dunes Tour Huacachina
Day 16 Nazca Lines Scenic Flight, Return to Lima, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima, City Tour & Larco Museum

Visit the Cathedral Basilica of Lima on today's tour

Welcome to Peru! Touch down in Lima, where your driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the buzzing capital. Settle in and then explore Lima with a private guide. You'll begin in the city's historic center, founded in 1535 and now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its colonial architecture.

Absorb the sights and sounds of the Plaza Mayor, Lima's vibrant central square, which is lined with Spanish colonial buildings, including a magnificent 16th-century church—the Cathedral Basilica of Lima—that took 80 years to complete. You'll also visit the San Francisco Convent with its ornate altars, impressive dome, and eerie underground catacombs.

In the afternoon, browse the Larco Herrera Museum, which showcases an extensive collection of pottery and fabrics made by the Moche, Paracas, and Nazca civilizations. The evening is yours to relax and enjoy Lima at your own pace. Sip cocktails with coastal views in Miraflores, then sample Peruvian dishes at one of the city's world-class restaurants.

Day 2: Fly to Trujillo, Visit Huaca de La Luna & Chan Chan

Tour the ancient ruins of Chan Chan

Fly north this morning to the coastal city of Trujillo. Check into your hotel before touring some of the surrounding desert's archaeological gems. Your first stop is the Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon), an adobe (clay brick) pyramid constructed by the Moche people, who inhabited the region between 100 and 750 AC. Marvel at the pyramid, including its intricate deity friezes, and visit the museum, which displays artifacts found at the site.

Continue to the world's largest mud-brick citadel, Chan Chan, the seat of the Chimu civilization, which existed before the Incas. The sprawling complex was once home to around 100,000 people, making it the largest pre-Colombian city in the Americas. Explore the remains of the 10 walled compounds, which include ceremonial courtyards, assembly rooms, and mausoleums. Afterward, return to your hotel in Trujillo for a restful evening.

Day 3: Transfer to Tucume, Visit Huaca El Brujo

See the Moche-era murals at El Brujo archaeological site

Today you'll travel farther north toward Tucume and its famous Valley of the Pyramids. On the way, stop at the Huaca El Brujo, another Moche archaeological site with a 98-foot-tall (30 m) adobe pyramid. Here, archaeologists discovered the tomb of the Lady of Cao, also known as the Lady of Tattoos, a female mummy dressed as a warrior surrounded by gold, jewelry, and weapons.

You'll have time to tour the site and visit the museum to see the Lady of Cao, who challenged historians' perceptions of women in pre-Hispanic societies. In the afternoon, continue your journey to Tucume, where you'll check into your hotel in time for dinner and a relaxing evening.

Day 4: Visit the Pyramids of Tucume, Transfer to Ollantaytambo

Explore Tucume's famous Valley of the Pyramids

Start the day with a trip to the Archaeological Complex of the Pyramids of Tucume. This site is home to 26 adobe pyramids built by the Sican people, scattered over 495 acres (200 ha), making it the region's most staggering collection of ruins. Tour the crumbling remains, peruse the museum, and climb to the top of Cerro Purgatorio (purgatory hill) for sweeping views of the pyramids.

Take a lunch break, then continue to the Museo Tumbas Reales de Šipan (the Royal Tombs of Šipan Museum). Here, you'll discover items excavated from the tomb of Lord Šipan, one of ancient Peru's most influential figures, including over 2,000 pieces of intricate jewelry and pottery. Afterward, you'll fly south to Cusco, the famed capital of the Inca Empire. Your driver will be waiting to take you to the nearby town of Ollantaytambo, where you'll spend the night.

Day 5: Train to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu Tour

Spend the day at one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu

Rise early for a scenic train journey to Aguas Calientes, the jumping-off point for your tour to UNESCO-listed Machu Picchu. Known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this Inca city sits perched on a misty mountaintop in the Sacred Valley, surrounded by forested peaks. Explore the city in the sky, which was built in the 15th century but lay forgotten until the early 20th century.

View the surrounding peaks and climb staircases connecting Machu Picchu's former palaces and temples. Admire the sheer feat of engineering and learn about the site's past as a key agricultural and religious hub built by Emperor Pachacuti. Your private guide will lead you through Machu Picchu's ruins, telling you about this world-famous landmark's legends and history. Afterward, return to Aguas Calientes to catch the train back to Ollantaytambo.

Day 6: Sacred Valley Tour

Take in the impressive Moray amphitheaters
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Discover more of Peru's Sacred Valley today as you travel through the mountainous countryside to Chinchero, which the Inca people believed to be the birthplace of the rainbow. Stroll around this typical Andean village, witnessing its extensive Inca terraces and colonial-era churches. You'll also get to visit the village's weaving studios, where skilled artisans produce handmade products.

Your next stop is Moray, a collection of Inca stone amphitheaters, which historians believe were developed to experiment with crop production in different microclimates. From Moray, hike through fertile farmland to the Maras Salt Pans, a stunning patchwork of salineras (salt pans) on a hillside. These pools are fed by natural springs at the top of the valley and have been used for salt production since Inca times.

Day 7: Cusco City Tour, Fly to Lima

Fly to the former Inca capital, Cusco

Spend today on a guided tour of Cusco, South America's oldest continuously occupied city. Often referred to as the Navel of the World, the former Inca capital blends Andean and Spanish colonial culture. Wander the city's cobblestone streets, stopping at museums, churches, and palaces. Highlights include the bustling Plaza de Armas, Cusco's central square, surrounded by architectural treasures like the sandstone Cusco Cathedral.

Visit the Santo Domingo Monastery and decorative Iglesia de la Companía de Jesús (Church of the Society of Jesus) and get lost in the aisles of San Pedro Market, where you can shop for everything from alpaca hats to local chocolate and tea. Sip coffee in a café in the trendy San Blas district and head to the Mirador de Plaza Sán Cristobal for panoramic views over the city. At the end of the trip, you'll be dropped off at the airport for your flight back to Lima.

Day 8: Fly to Iquitos, Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 1)

Set sail for a four-night Amazon cruise

This morning, fly north to the city of Iquitos, the starting point of your Amazon cruise. A crew member will be waiting at arrivals to take you to Nauta, a small riverside town on the banks of the Marañon River, where you'll board the luxurious Delfin cruise ship. Settle into your chic, en-suite cabin with a private terrace to soak up river views.

After some time to rest, head to the observation deck for cocktails made with regional fruit and pisco, Peru's beloved brandy liquor, while your naturalist guide introduces the cruise. You'll set sail down the peaceful Marañon River, looking out for birds and monkeys on the banks. Later, enjoy your first sunset in the Amazon rainforest, followed by a lavish dinner before retiring to your cabin.

Day 9: Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 2)

Look out for the unique, spikey-haired hoatzin bird

Sail down the Samiria River this morning, spotting spikey-haired hoatzin birds nesting above the water. Your guide will also be on the lookout for sloths and troops of brown capuchin and squirrel monkeys. Other wildlife highlights include colorful macaws, banana-beaked toucans, capybaras, and perhaps river dolphins.

Stop for a walk in the rainforest, where your guide will teach you about medicinal plants used by locals. The Peruvian Amazon region is considered the largest pharmaceutical reserve in the world, with 965 species of wild plants and 59 cultivated plant species. Return to the boat for another spectacular sunset and tranquil evening on board.

Day 10: Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 3)

You may be lucky enough to see a two-toed sloth

Today you'll traverse the Yanayacu and Pucate Rivers, one of the best-preserved zones of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which offers views of creeks and lagoons. You'll have the chance to hop in a kayak or take a paddle board out for a different landscape perspective—you may even spot the area's famed pink dolphins.

Stretch your legs with a walk along the Fundo Casual Jungle Trail, which takes you deep into the rainforest. Your guide will point out plants and forest creatures, from rainbow boas to porcupines, forest hogs, monkeys, and frogs. This area of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is also renowned for its population of the elusive two-toed sloth, which you may be lucky enough to glimpse.

Day 11: Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 4)

Watch your final sunset on the Amazon Cruise

Today's journey follows the Yarapa River tributary to a hidden lagoon. Listen to the sounds of wildlife and look for hawks, terns, herons, and monkeys around this watery wonderland. Other animal sightings include pygmy marmosets and rare, bushy-tailed monk sakis. You may also spot the rivereños, native people to the area who make a living from the forest.

You'll sail to the confluence of three rivers known as the Unión de los Ríos, which have three distinct colors. The Ucayali River meets the Marañón River upstream of Iquitos, which together form the main stem of the Amazon River. Enjoy a fiery sunset from the deck and a final evening on board as you sail through the rainforest.

Day 12: Delfin Amazon Cruise (Day 5), Fly to Lima

Learn about the endangered manatees at the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals

This morning your Amazon cruise ends in Nauta. A driver will take you back to Iquitos, with a stop at the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals. In this protected sanctuary, you'll get the chance to meet baby manatees and learn why these gentle creatures are on the endangered species list. The center also cares for animals rescued from the illegal pet trade, including monkeys, parrots, and tortoises. From here, drive to the airport, where you'll board a flight back to Lima.

Day 13: Transfer to Paracas, Visit Pachacamac & Paracas National Reserve

Stop to visit Pachacamac, a pre-Columbian citadel, for some history

After breakfast at your hotel in Lima, you'll head south down the coast of Peru to Paracas, home to a biodiverse national park that spans desert, coastline, and wildlife-studded islands. En route, stop at Pachacamac, the ruins of a pre-Columbian citadel that was a critical ceremonial center in Inca times. Tour pyramid temples from various eras and visit the museum for displays of pottery, textiles, and the iconic wooden idol of Pachacamac.

You'll then continue to the Paracas National Reserve for a guided trip through the desert and coastline, which is dotted with multicolored beaches. The reserve is a haven for diverse wildlife, from sea lions to migratory birds. Arrive at your hotel in Paracas in the early evening and take a stroll around the harbor before dinner.

Day 14: Tambo Colorado Day Trip

Return to Paracas on the Peruvian coast and stay the night
Spend today exploring the relics of Tambo Colorado (colored temple). This ancient city was one of the most important Inca sites on the Peruvian coast, built with reddish adobe, which lent the settlement its name. Discover the history of this architectural wonder, which was established in 1450 to accommodate travelers making their way along the Peruvian coast. Wander the well-preserved ruins before returning to Paracas for the night.

Day 15: Islas Ballestas Boat Trip & Huacachina Sand Dunes Tour

Sleep in the desert oasis of Huacachina

Rise and shine for an early-morning boat trip to the uninhabited Islas Ballestas off the coast of Paracas. Skim across the waves, pausing beside rocky islets to observe vast colonies of sea lions, pelicans, and Humboldt penguins. Next, you'll make the hourlong journey to the desert oasis of Huacachina, stopping at Tacama Vineyard to learn how pisco is made, followed by a tasting session with local cheese.

Next, you'll venture into the Huacachina dunes for a short hike among golden sands to a remote campsite. Spend the evening zipping down the dunes on a sandboard as you watch the desert sunset. Then feast on a barbecue dinner and camp in the dunes beneath a star-filled sky.

Day 16: Nazca Lines Scenic Flight, Return to Lima, Depart

Take a scenic flight over the famous Nazca Lines geoglyphs

End your Peru adventure today with a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines, a collection of giant geoglyphs etched into the desert. These mammoth sketches feature around 300 figures, including animals and plants, spread across nearly 386 square miles (1,000 sq km). Afterward, you'll return to Lima in time to catch your homebound flight. Safe travels!

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