Highlights of Peru Adventure
$ 2,450 USD
Fall in love with the highlights of Peru
See the best of Peru as you travel for 2 weeks from Lima to Cuzco and stop at incredible sights along the way! This trip is perfect for those who are on a tight schedule. See marine life in the Ballestas Islands, fly down a sand dune in Huacachina, hike the deep Colca Canyon, visit ancient Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, and experience a unique homestay in Luquina Community.
Start: Lima, Peru
Finish: Cusco, Peru
Why You'll Love This Adventure?
- Marvel at wildlife in the Ballestas Islands and Colca Canyon
- Sandboard down giant dunes and ride a sand buggy
- Visit ancient ruins in the Sacred Valley and discover Peru’s culture
Day 1: Lima, Peru
Duration: 14 days
Welcome to Lima, the “City of Kings”. Upon arrival to the airport, you will be transferred to your hotel. Please look for your driver at the airport, he will be holding a sign with your name on it. Once you have checked into the hotel, the remainder of your first day will be free. While Peru’s capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was built on top of an existing palace and temples that belonged to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city’s attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical center.
Day 2: Lima, Peru
Lima City Tour
Today, you will embark on an exciting city tour where you will discover Lima’s best attractions in its three historical periods: pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern. We start our tour in the morning with a panoramic view of the “Pucllana Pyramid” a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th century A.D. and considered a “sacred village” by the Incas. The Viceroyalty of Perú was the most important of the Spanish Empire and Lima was its capital. Then, we visit the Historical Center of Lima, where you will appreciate more than fifty monuments and Colonial edifications, such as the Paseo de la República, the San Martín Square, the Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace amongst others. We will visit the Museum of the Banco Central de Reserva, where we will admire the “Treasures of Perú” Collection, a fine selection of objects made of gold, ceramics and textiles from different pre-Columbian cultures. Then, we will visit the monumental San Francisco convent which displays the largest collection of religious art in America. Our highlight will be the visit of the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or Catacombs. Finally, we will visit traditional residential areas of Lima, such as El Olivar of San Isidro, Miraflores and Larcomar. NOTE: Museum of the “Banco Central de Reserva” is closed to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Monday closed all day.
Day 3: Lima - Huacachina, Peru
Ballestas Islands and transfer to Huacachina
Early in the morning (4:00am), you’ll take the regular bus towards the small city of Paracas (3 ½ hours approx. – 260 kilometers distance). At 8:00am, you’ll take the excursion to the Ballestas Islands. At the dock you will board a speedboat equipped with life vests and comfortable seats. At this point it is advisable to wear a good jacket or wind breakers as it gets very windy once the boat gets in motion. You will leave then towards the Ballestas Islands. Along the way you will see the famous figure known as The Candelabro, an enigmatic design etched on the desert floor hundreds of years ago. Afterwards you will continue to The Ballestas Islands. These islands are inhabited by an amazing marine life, with over 200 types of migratory and resident birds, including Peruvian Pelicans, Belcher’s gulls, Humboldt penguins, guanay cormorants, red-legged cormorants, Inca terns, Peruvian boobies, turkey vultures, among others. In addition, you will also see around the Islands hundreds of sea lions resting at the beaches, sleeping on the rocks or swimming nearby. The Islands also provide shelter to the shy Humboldt penguins which are usually seen at the entrances of small caves near the cliffs. After touring around the islands for about 1 hour you will return to the harbor and will have a couple of free hours to explore the city of Paracas. In the afternoon take the regular bus towards the city of Ica (1 ¼ hours approx. – 75-kilometer distance). Once in Ica, our local representative will meet you and will transfer to your hotel located in the Huacachina area. La Huacachina is a beautiful lagoon. On this spot visitors may explore the surroundings of the lagoon or go for a ride with buggies machines out in the desert and practice one of the ultimate sports in our country “Sandboarding”.
Day 4: Huacachina, Peru
Free day in Huacachina
Enjoy a free day in Huacachina. If you feel adventurous, you can practice sandboarding!
Day 5: Huacachina - Arequipa, Peru
Visit to Nazca and transfer to Arequipa
In the morning, our driver will take you back to Ica bus station to board the regular bus towards the city of Nazca (1 ¾ hours approx. – 95-kilometer distance). Enjoy the rest of the day free in Nazca. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC. Thanks to the dry desert conditions found here, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well-preserved, providing archaeologists with clear snapshots of the highly developed, pre-Inca civilization that once resided here. Take an optional flight over the lines for the best experience (not included). The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert. At 10:00pm, you’ll take the overnight regular local bus towards the city of Arequipa (10 hours bus ride approx. – 570-kilometer distance).
Day 6: Arequipa, Peru
Free day in Arequipa
Arrival in Arequipa at around 7:00am and enjoy the rest of the day free to explore the city on your own. Arequipa is a delightful Colonial City, situated at the foot of El Misti Volcano, a snow-capped perfect cone of 5,822 meters. Known as the White City, Arequipa is teemed with fine Spanish buildings and wonderful natural landscape. The city is located at 2,335 meters above sea level.
Day 7: Arequipa - Colca, Peru
In the morning, you will board the bus and will drive northwest following a paved road towards the “Colca Canyon”. Later on, you will continue till Pampas Cañahuas (3,500 m/11,482 Ft), a National Reserve where visitors may spot some vicuñas and alpacas. Unlike the Alpacas, Vicuñas are wild animals, and still can be seen running freely on these high plateaus. You will stop at this national park and your local guide will provide information about these shy Andean camels. Then you will continue your journey to the Colca Canyon, little further up you will stop again at the little restaurant of Viscachani, where you can enjoy stunning scenery of the Andes and also drink a typical coca tea. Afterwards you will continue ascending a dirt road till you reach the highest point of the trip, “The Lookout Point of the Andes (4,800 m /15,748 Ft). At the very top, you will get off of the transportation some minutes to observe the landscape, having in the background the volcanoes Ubinas, Mismi, Misti, Chachani, Sabancaya (active) and Ampato. Later, you will drive to the main village of the Colca Canyon, the Village of Chivay (3,600 m / 11.811 Ft). You may walk around the village and get to know better the rural life in this corner of Peru. By the afternoon you will go to swim and relax at the Hot Springs of the Colca Valley (35° C / 95º F), a nice pool outdoors surrounded by huge mountains. After sunset, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 8: Colca - Puno, Peru
Colca Canyon and transfer to Puno
In the morning, you will be driving towards the “Cruz Del Condor”, a natural lookout point where we can see Condors flying over the canyon. On the way to Cruz Del Condor you will enjoy spectacular views of the canyon and will see hundreds of ancient agricultural terraces carved onto the slopes of the mountains. The people from these regions dedicate their life solely to agriculture, therefore we will see many fields full of crops (depending on the season we visit it), mainly potatoes, corn, barley and other products native from Peru. While driving along the edge of the Colca Canyon you can observe the great Colca River and also some small communities. At one point you will stumble upon a strange rock, where ancient architectures carved terraces, testing perhaps which parts of the Canyon were suitable for cultivation. In addition, you will also see mysterious hanging tombs on the hillsides. After approximately 2 hours you will reach the lookout point known as Cruz Del Condor, where you will spend an hour or so, observing the giant Andean Condors as well as amazing views of the Canyon. Afterwards, you will return to the village of Chivay and will head towards the city of Puno, crossing the Altiplano (high Andean plateau). The journey lasts about 4 hours and offers fine views of little lakes located along the road. Upon your arrival in Puno, you will be dropped off at your hotel.
Day 9: Puno - Amantani Island, Peru
Lake Titicaca and Amantani Island (B/L/D)
Early in the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the harbor. You start off your boat excursion of Lake Titicaca by visiting “The Uros Floating Islands”, a small community that has lived on these reed Islands for decades. Centuries ago, the small indigenous Uros tribe conceived of the islands as a way to isolate and protect themselves from rival tribes, the Collas and the Incas. The Uros people harvested the reeds in the shallows of the lake, bundled them together tightly and built floating island platforms complete with reed houses and canoes, creating in this way their own little world. After strolling around the floating Islands, you continue your journey towards “Amantani Island”, where you will spend the rest of the day and the night. Upon arrival, a group of native families will welcome you at the harbor, and afterwards the guide will introduce you to the family that will provide you lodging in their house. The group is split into couples, so each couple goes with one family. In the afternoon you will walk up to the highest point of the Islands to explore ancient ruins on a mountain called by locals Pachamama. There are stunning views of the Lake from this lookout point and an amazing sunset. Soon after nightfall, you will descend to the main plaza and will meet your local families, and then you go to their houses for dinner. At dinner you will be invited to go to the little kitchen (mind the head when entering, their doorways are very small), a warm place where they cook with a primitive stove made of clay. By night, visitors are invited to a particular party. Your local families will provide traditional clothing to attend this nice Andean party, at the house; men are given ponchos and wooly hats, the hats are hand-made by the families, with unique styles, so that they can recognize you in the hall. Women are given colorful skirts, blouses and veils. Lunch and dinner will be included in this community. NOTE: Your homestay tonight is a mud brick house. Rooms have beds and many blankets, and there are shared drop-toilets but no showers.
Day 10: Puno - Amantani Island - Puno, Peru
Taquile Island and transfer to Puno (B)
After breakfast, you will have to say goodbye to your local family and go down to the harbor to board the boat again and head to Taquile Island (approximately 1 hour). Here, the tradition of knitting is strictly a male domain, and women do the spinning. It’s a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. An uphill trek (approximately 1 hour) brings you to the main area of the island. After the visit, you will descend about 500 steps back to our boat. Then travel back to Puno by boat (approximately 3 hours).
Day 11: Puno - Cusco, Peru
Transfer to Cuzco with visits on route (B/L)
Today you’ll travel to Cuzco on an especial bus service that stops along the way, showing you the highlights of this road. The first stop will be the Community of Pukara, where you will visit the Pukara Museum, an interesting place that houses ancient monolith and human remains from the Pukara culture. Afterwards you’ll continue the journey throughout the Andean plateau until you reach the highest point on this route, a freezing place called “La Raya”, surrounded by huge snow-capped mountains at 4335 meters high. At this point you will get off the bus for pictures and also, if you wish, to purchase some hand-made products of Alpaca or Vicuña wool, in one of the little shops nearby. Afterwards you will descend towards the picturesque “Village of Sicuani”, where you will enjoy a nice lunch, which is served with native products of this region. Later on, you’ll continue your tour at the famous “Inca Temple of Racchi”, considered the only Inca place where visitors can see circular constructions, and walls of mud bricks, something you won’t see anywhere else on your trip. Then, continue to the traditional town of “Andahuaylillas”, where you will visit an impressive Cathedral built in the colonial era. Finally, you will arrive in Cuzco at around 5:00pm. Once in Cuzco, you will have a pre-departure briefing in the afternoon. Please make your own way to the Bamba Cuzco Office one day prior to your adventure and attend your pre-departure briefing at 5:00 p.m. During your pre-departure briefing, we will give you all of your tickets for the buses, trains and archaeological sites. You will have a guide during the Sacred Valley Tour and for the Machu Picchu Archaeological Site Tour. However, during your bus and train transfers you will not be accompanied by a guide.
Day 12: Cusco - Aguas Calientes, Peru
Sacred Valley Tour, Ollantaytambo and transfer to Aguas Calientes (L)
Accommodation pick-up at 7:30 am to start off our day. We will travel out of Cuzco towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas and make our first stop at the village of Corao where we will visit a local artisan marketplace. Enjoy 30 minutes of free time to wander around buying handmade souvenirs for family and friends. Enjoy the scenic viewpoints along the panoramic highway that takes us over the mountains into the picturesque Urubamba river valley. Upon arrival to the ancient Inca town of Pisac, our guide will explain the unique architecture of this archaeological site and its magical vibes. Take about 45 minutes to explore the site and shop around in the local marketplace. For lunch, we will continue to Urubamba and make our lunch break here for a taste of Peru’s finest traditional cuisine. After our break, the van will take us to Ollantaytambo, another mysterious archaeological site built into the steep mountainside. You will spend 45 minutes there, which will give you plenty of time to climb the steep steps of these ancient Inca ruins and contemplate life as you look out upon the valley. Then walk over to the train station, located a short 10-minutes on foot downhill from the archaeological site, to board the train heading for Aguas Calientes (approx. 2 hours). Upon arrival you will be met by a local guide who will transfer you to your accommodation and give you indications for the following day in Machu Picchu. Wander through the quaint town of Aguas Calientes at your leisure.
Day 13: Aguas Calientes - Cusco, Peru
Visit to Machu Picchu (B)
Take an early bus to Machu Picchu to enter the site as it opens. Your English Speaking guide will meet you for a guided visit to the archaeological site (approximately 2 hours). You will then have plenty of free time to explore the hidden corners of this ancient Inca city on your own. You can choose from the optional treks to climb Huayna Picchu (additional cost – to book at least 2 weeks in advance) or walk to the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) for panoramic views of the site. Later, return to Aguas Calientes by bus. Then, take the return train back to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cuzco late in the day. Upon arrival at Cuzco City Center, you will need to make your own way to your accommodation for the night. NOTE: You have the option of taking a return train departing at 14h30, 16h12 and 19h. Information about the optional hike up the steep peak named Huayna Picchu, which is located inside the Machu Picchu archaeological site: This sometimes muddy peak takes about 45 – 60 minutes to hike up and awards you with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective. Keep in mind that if you want to take this optional hike, you must now purchase your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance in order to get one of the 400 passes (200 people are allowed up at 7:00am and 200 more at 10:00am). Please send us an email directly to request this extra ticket.
Day 14: Cusco, Peru
Say goodbye to Peru (B)
At the appropriate time, our driver will transfer you to the airport to take your departure flight. Safe travels ahead!
Travel with ease from A to B
13 nights in hostel, 3 star or 4 star hotels
- International and/or domestic flights
- Transfers to/from the dock for Ballestas Islands
- Entrance fee to Sacred Valley
- Other activities
- Meals not specified in the itinerary
- Personal expenses and gratuities
- Travel insurance