Day 1: Arrival in Lima
You will be picked up at the airport by a Peru For Less representative and taken to your confirmed Lima hotel.
You’ll have the evening to spend at your leisure. We recommend a stroll through the scenic Parque del Amor (Park of Love) above the cliff near Larcomar, a mall built into the jagged cliffs of Lima’s coastline.
Day 2: Arrival in Paracas | Nazca Lines Tour
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to the bus station for your trip to Paracas. You will travel approximately 3 ½ hours aboard a comfortable first class bus.
Upon arrival in Paracas, you will be taken to your confirmed Paracas hotel.
After checking in and dropping off your luggage, you’ll head to the nearby Pisco airport, located about 30 minutes by car from your hotel. Here you will take off on your exciting flight over the Nazca Lines. Built between 500 BC and 500 AD, the Nazca Lines are a World Heritage Site whose significance continues to perplex researchers despite more than half a century of careful study. Many scientists believe the lines served an astronomical function for the Nazca civilization, although other more colorful theories abound.
During the hour-long flight, you will see famous glyphs such as the condor, the hummingbird, and the monkey.
After you touch back down to earth, you’ll be taken back to your Paracas hotel, arriving in the late afternoon or early evening. You will have the remainder of the day to relax and ponder the mysterious Nazca Lines as you enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Paracas Bay.
Note: Flights from Pisco to Nazca require a minimum of two passengers per departure. Please contact your Travel Advisor for single passenger options.
→ Due to the relatively small size of planes operating Nazca Lines tours, restrictions apply for clients who weigh 100kg (220lbs) or more, please ask your Travel Advisor for additional information.
Day 3: Ballestas Islands Tour | Return to Lima
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing on an adventurous boat trip to the nearby Ballestas Islands. Here you can spot sea lions, seals, penguins, guano birds, and turtles (rarely found at this latitude). The tour will last approximately 2 hours.
On the way to the islands, you will also see the Candelabra, a candlestick-shaped glyph stretching 595 feet (181 meters) in length that was etched into the rocky soil, which some experts believe is connected to the Nazca Lines. Debate with your companions about whether the Candelabra formation represents a cactus (a symbol of power in the ancient Chavin culture) or perhaps the Southern Cross constellation.
During the tour, you can get up close and personal with marine birds and sea lions. Some of the unique bird species you might see include the Humboldt Penguin and the Peruvian Booby which only live along the Humboldt Current, as well as the Guanay Cormorant and the Red-legged Cormorant. Depending on the season, you may see sea lions playing with their young or simply frolicking on the rocks.
After your boating excursion, you will have some free time at your hotel before going to the bus station to return to Lima for the night. After you check in to your hotel, you will have the evening in Lima to enjoy at your leisure.
Day 4: Arrival in Arequipa | Arequipa City Tour
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport for a morning flight to Arequipa, often called the White City, due to its many buildings constructed of sillar, a white volcanic rock.
Upon arrival in Arequipa, you will be met at the airport by one of our representatives who will take you to your confirmed Arequipa hotel where you can relax before your City tour. Arequipa boasts a distinctive integration of European and native architectural features in the historic center, a cultural characteristic that placed the city on the map of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000.
Next you will meet your guide at your hotel for your Arequipa tour. During the tour you will visit San Ignacio Chapel, known as the Sistine Chapel of Peru for its ornate decoration. You’ll also swing by the Plaza de Armas, where the neoclassical Cathedral stands on one corner, as well as explore the Santa Catalina Monastery, a convent that once housed 500 nuns and other residents. The tour will end at one of two famous miradores (lookout points), Mirador de Yanahuara or Carmen Alto, where you can appreciate views of the city framed by the towering Misti Volcano.
Spend the evening at your leisure, but don’t call it a night before sampling one or two of the delicious local dishes that have made Arequipa a top culinary destination in Peru.
Day 5: Colca Canyon Tour | Overnight
Start the day early with a filling breakfast, then set off on a scenic drive to the Colca Canyon. This drive will last around 3 hours, taking you through spectacular high altitude landscapes and will be one of the highlights of your journey into the Andes. As the road climbs up to the Reserva Nacional de Salinas y Aguada Blanca, keep your eyes open for wild vicuñas (smaller cousins of the llama) and viscachas (small rodents that resemble rabbits).
At the highest point of your journey, you’ll reach Patapampa Pass, located at a breathtaking 15,300 feet (4,820 meters) above sea level. On the descent into the town of Chivay, you’ll begin to see pre-Inca agricultural terraces that characterize the landscape of the canyon. You’ll also see the Ampato, Sabancaya, and Mismy volcanoes towering in the distance.
In Chivay, you will visit the main square and stop for lunch (not included).
After lunch, ride to the Calera Hot Springs, renowned for the therapeutic effects of the thermal water. You can either take a dip in the natural baths or just take in the stunning landscape.
Later you’ll be taken to your Colca Canyon hotel, where you can continue to relax amidst the pastoral beauty of this incomparable Andean landscape.
Day 6: Colca Canyon Tour | Return to Arequipa
Early this morning, you’ll meet your guide and drive to the Mirador Cruz del Condor, one of the best viewpoints over the canyon and home to the famed condors that gracefully soar on the thermal currents. The road leads past picturesque villages and pre-Inca ruins dominated by the Ampato and Hualca glaciers, both visible in the distance. Once you reach Cruz del Condor, you can stand at the lookout point and gaze into the depths of the canyon, which stretches nearly 4,000 feet below.
You will return to Chivay where you can enjoy lunch (not included) or browse the local market before continuing on to your Arequipa hotel, enjoying spectacular views of the Andes on the way.
You’ll have the remainder of the evening to explore more of Arequipa or just relax.
Day 7: Arrival in Cusco
After breakfast at your Arequipa hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cusco.
Upon arrival at the Cusco airport, a Peru For Less representative will meet you for the drive to the historic center. On the way to your hotel, you will see examples of Spanish colonial architecture constructed upon the remains of ancient Inca palaces and temples.
Cusco is at higher altitude than Arequipa, but is lower than the highest points of the Colca Canyon. Once you have adjusted to the altitude, Cusco has many options for casual and fine dining.
Day 8 : Cusco City Tour
Spend the morning at your leisure. This is a good time to explore some of Cusco’s less-visited attractions including the San Pedro Market, the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, or one of many museums, such as the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, Casa Concha, or the Choco Museum, where you can make your own chocolate from scratch.
In the afternoon, an expert guide will take you to many of the amazing archeological sites in and around the city, including the Cusco Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas as well as Temple of the Sun or Qoricancancha, and the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.
Return to your Cusco hotel and enjoy a relaxing evening.
Day 9: Sacred Valley Tour
Explore the beautiful Peruvian countryside with a full-day tour of the magical Sacred Valley. First, you will visit the town of Pisac, famous for its bustling market and beautiful Incan ruins that loom over the city. In the market you will have the opportunity to browse the beautiful handicrafts and Andean garments displayed for sale as well as local fruits, vegetables, and other natural products. While at the Pisac ruins you will be able to see ceremonial and cemetery areas, as well as amazing views of Pisac and the surrounding valley from above.
Following your visit to Pisac, you will stop for lunch (not included) at a buffet restaurant offering a variety of Peruvian and international food near the town of Urubamba.
Next, you will visit the impressive fortress of Ollantaytambo. These magnificent ancient ruins provide a great vantage point over the Sacred Valley. Originally the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti during the Inca Empire, this site later served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui in the final resistance effort against the Spanish.
In the evening, you will be taken to your comfortable hotel in the Sacred Valley.
Day 10: Machu Picchu Tour
After breakfast at your Sacred Valley hotel, you will take a train to Machu Picchu, the hidden Inca citadel. The train ride is an attraction in itself. Much of the path winds along the rushing river and snakes past steep mountain faces, offering passengers dramatic views of the Andes landscape as it descends from high altitude plains to cloud forest. The foliage dramatically changes as the train approaches the meeting point of the Andes and the Amazon rainforest, providing visitors with a real sense of Peru’s diverse geography.
Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, the town near Machu Picchu, you will be met at the train station and accompanied to the bus station for a 20-minute ride up to the secluded citadel.
Next, meet your expert English-speaking guide for a tour of the most important sites in Machu Picchu, including the Intihuatana (Sun Stone), the Sun Temple, and the Room of 3 Windows. You will be able to appreciate the intricate stonework and awe-inspiring setting of this amazing site.
In the afternoon, you will take a comfortable train back to Cusco and then be transferred to your Cusco hotel for the evening.
If you would like to spend more time at Machu Picchu, this package can be customized to include an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, allowing for a second visit to the ruins on the following day.
Optional: Hike up Huayna Picchu, the peak overlooking the Machu Picchu ruins. This hike is steep and takes about 3 hours round trip, but has remarkable views. Please let your Travel Advisor know if you’d like to add this to your itinerary.
Day 11: Departure from Cusco
After breakfast at your hotel, one of our representatives will meet you at your hotel and take you to the airport for your journey home or on to your next destination.
Alternatively, choose one of our other exciting Cusco tours or Sacred Valley excursions, or browse our full range of Peru travel destinations to extend your Peru vacation.