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Peru Highlights
on a Shoestring


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Peru Highlights on a Shoestring... at a glance

This itinerary takes you to explore the diversity of Peru’s highlight destinations from the Andean peaks down into the Amazon rainforest while taking in its compelling history and colorful culture along the way. Ceviche in Lima is mouth-watering, the desert landscape of Ica and Nazca is magical, Arequipa’s colonial architecture is gorgeous, the Colca Canyon is breath-taking, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca are fascinating, the Inca ruins and Machu Picchu at sunrise are out of this world…mind-blowing.

Our local specialists and tour guides have designed and dialed in all the secret stops that any local would approve of.

Peru Highlights - The Bucket List for your trip!

  • Discover Peru’s desert capital, Lima, a foodie’s paradise
  • Explore Peru’s coastal Pacific desert, cultures, and islands
  • Marvel at the massive and mystical Nazca Lines
  • Tour “The White City” of Arequipa
  • Dive into the Colca Canyon
  • Sail on Lake Titicaca and visit the famous Floating Islands
  • Conquer Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

PERU HIGHLIGHTS ON A SHOESTRING

What you'll see on this adventure through Peru!

Discover the city, desert, jungle, Pacific Ocean and much, much more on this trip to Peru. Over 16 days you will visit the most important destinations in Peru, as well as some hidden gems that are off the beaten track. Conquer Peru’s urban enclaves by visiting the desert capital Lima, the white city of Arequipa and the ancient center of the Inca empire, Cusco. Visit the immense Colca Canyon, which is reportedly twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and watch the condors soar through the valley. Sail on the serene Lake Titicaca and be amazed by the Floating Islands, made by the locals with native reeds. Explore the wonder of the Sacred Valley, and finally, check the incredible Inca citadel Machu Picchu off your bucket list, you have arrived!

Day 1

Start your Peruvian adventure in the capital of Lima

Lima is a city of contrasts. A mix of the old world and the new, modernity and tradition, abundance and poverty awaits each visitor willing to take the time to explore this city, which has grown into being in the middle of a dry and sandy desert. From the diverse range of cultural events, historical sites, and museums, to the packed golden beaches, along with breathtaking views from the city’s numerous skyscrapers and a ride in a micro across the pueblos jovenes, this is a city sure to astound any visitor.

Includes: Transfer with a host from Lima airport to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we will give you a personal briefing at the hotel where we will discuss your itinerary in detail. Spend the night in a comfortable Bed & Breakfast in the heart of the Miraflores neighborhood.

Basic Accommodation Hotel Carmel
Comfort Accommodation Hotel Antigua

Day 2

Discover Lima, Peru’s capital desert city

Dive into Lima, and remember to pay particular attention to its three historical periods: Pre-Hispanic, Colonial and Contemporary. Start the day in modern Lima by visiting the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores, where you will discover the Financial Center, the San Isidro Golf Course and the Olive Grove Park. Explore the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid-shaped temple that has miraculously survived the expansion of modern civilization. You will then be treated to a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean while driving down the Miraflores coastline along a cliff-top road overlooking the ocean.

Next, go back in time to Colonial Lima, where you will visit the city’s beautifully restored historical center, which was designated a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity site in 1991. Take in the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishops Palace, the City Hall, and the Desamparados Train Station. Visit the San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts, known as the Catacombs. Before the tour ends you can choose to either browse the Indian Market or the Larcomar Mall or return to your hotel in the evening.

Includes: Group excursion with Transport, Guide and Entrance fees. Overnight stay in a comfortable Bed & Breakfast in the heart of the Miraflores neighborhood. Meals: Breakfast

Basic Accommodation Hotel Carmel
Comfort Accommodation Hotel Antigua

Day 3

Ancient Ica awaits

At midday, you will take a transfer from your hotel to the bus station, from where you will board a Cruz del Sur bus and travel in comfort to the desert city of Ica. Upon arrival in Ica at the end of the day, you will be transferred to your hotel. Situated on Peru’s Pacific arid desert coastline, this region boasts an interesting mix of ancient local culture, spectacular natural beauty, and adrenaline-inducing adventure sports that will sure give you a thrill and captivate you! Be warned, it is impossible to escape the sand! The first settlers arrived in the area over 10,000 years ago and from these ancestral people the cultures of the Nazca, Ica, and Paracas were born. The region’s ancient tribes wove ornate robes, developed elaborate ceramic skills, mummified their dead and carved gigantic figures and geometries into the desert floor. General San Martín commanded the Peruvian War of Independence from this area and directed military operations against Spanish forces from the town of Pisco.

Includes: Transfer to the bus station, comfortable bus from Lima to Ica, transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay in a cozy Bed & Breakfast close to the Huacachina lagoon. Meals: Breakfast

Basic Accommodation (Ica) Hotel Huacachinero
Comfort Accommodation (Paracas): Hacienda Bahia

Day 4

Idle on Peru’s Galapagos Islands

Take an early morning transfer from your hotel in Ica to the port of Paracas. Known to many as the “poor man’s Galapagos”, these small islands are nonetheless spectacular in their own right and well worth visiting. These idyllic islands form part of a National Reserve where you can see sea lions, seals, penguins, guano birds and turtles, a rarity at this latitude. On the boat trip out to the islands, you will undoubtedly spot the famous “Candelabro” (candlestick), an ancient marking traced in the hillside back on the mainland. It is at least 50 meters long and believed to be linked to the Nazca Lines.

In the afternoon, you can do an optional tour which will take you to explore the high dunes around Ica. The dunes surrounding Ica and Huacachina are some of the finest in the world for sand boarding and buggying. Some of the dunes rise to almost 100m in height, and roaring over them in a powerful dune buggy not only gets the heart racing but is a great way to experience the area. At around 7 pm, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the bus station. From here you will take a bus 2.5hr to Nazca.

Includes: Ballestas islands half-day tour from Ica – Group service. (Port fee is not included, approx 3 USD). Meals: Breakfast. Transfer from your hotel to the bus station, comfortable bus from Ica to Nazca and transfer to your hotel upon arrival. Overnight stay in a comfortable, centrally located hotel in Nazca.

Basic Accommodation (Ica) Huacachinero 
Comfort Accommodation (Paracas) Hacienda Bahia

Day 5

Be wowed by the mythical Nazca Lines

Discovered entirely by accident in 1927, the Nazca Lines are ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca desert in southern Peru. With the larger etchings stretching for several miles, they were designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994. The Nazca Lines are one of the main attractions for visitors to this part of the country and a trip in an airplane above these hypnotizing markings is an unmissable part of any visit to Peru.

If you feel like doing an optional excursion, there are two to choose from. For a flight over the Nazca lines, we recommend that you go in the morning, as the winds pick up in the afternoon. Alternatively, in the afternoon you can visit the Chauchilla Cemetery, where the remains of some of the most important people of the Pre-Inca period and the Inca civilization can be found. You will also discover ancient ceramics, skulls, and primitive artifacts that remain practically untouched to this day. After your dinner, you will take a transfer to the bus station for your luxury overnight sleeper bus to Arequipa, where you will arrive the next morning.

Includes: Transfer from your hotel to the bus station, luxury sleeper bus from Nazca to Arequipa (11 hours),  and transfer to your hotel upon arrival to Arequipa. Meals: Breakfast

Basic Accommodation Casa Andina Standard
Comfort Accommodation Nuevo Cantalloc

Day 6

Discover “The White City” of Arequipa

Welcome to Arequipa, a city surrounded by the rolling green campiña and the  El Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes that tower gloriously above it. Arequipa, nicknamed “La Ciudad Blanca”, or The White City, is one of Peru’s most stunning cities, and one where the sun shines all year round. Arequipa rivals Cusco for the title of Peru’s second most important city. With famous people such as the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa among its citizens, as well as arguably the most delicious cuisine in Peru, this city has a lot to be proud of. If you don’t believe us, just try a “rocoto relleno” or “chupe de camerones” washed down with a shot of anisado! You will have the day to rest and explore Arequipa. We will give you a guidebook so you can take a walking tour of the city, with four different routes full of local tips.

Includes: City guide to Arequipa. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Arequipa.

Basic Accommodation Casa de Mi Abuela
Comfort Accommodation Casa Arequipa Boutique

Day 7

Onwards to the breathtaking Colca Canyon

Just three hours from Arequipa is the breathtaking Colca Canyon, thought to be almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The journey there is a great experience in itself – climbing up to Andean plains, you can spot herds of vicuñas and llamas before dipping down into the canyon itself to find small traditional villages with young boys herding cattle and women in colorful and traditional clothing. Stand on the edge of the canyon and wait to see giant condors drift and swoop on the warm winds above.

After breakfast, you will leave Arequipa and make the 160 Km crossing to Chivay at an altitude of 3651m. We will stop along the way in “PataWasi” (“Pata” meaning high,”Wasi” meaning home), an Andean community situated at 3,800mts, where we can taste the original Andean “Mate de Coca” drink and chew on some leaves, which locals use to combat altitude sickness. We will pass the Tocra at 4500m, from where we can observe lakes full of migrating birds and enjoy spectacular views of the Altiplano (highlands) where llamas, alpacas, and guanacos graze. We can stop for lunch (not included) in Chivay before continuing to your hotel.

Includes: Two day Colca Canyon tour (Group service) with an English speaking guide. Meals: Breakfast. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel near beautiful Corporaque in the Colca Canyon.

Basic Accommodation Mamayachi
Comfort Accommodation Mamayachi

Day 8

Condor spotting in the Colca Canyon

An early start at 6 am as we leave for the Colca Canyon, a   drive away. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon contains an array of pre-Inca terraced sites. The El Mirador lookout, also known as the  Cruz del Cóndor, is located on a high cliff at the deepest point of the canyon. The view here is fantastic, but most people come to see the immense Andean condor flying over the canyon. After this amazing experience, we will have a short walk through the canyon that will take approximately one hour. On the way back to Chicay we will visit the traditional villages of Pinchollo and Yanque, which has the most beautiful church in the valley. After lunch (not included), you will depart for Puno. It takes about five hours to get from the Colca Canyon to Puno.

Includes: Two day Colca Canyon tour (Group service) with an English speaking guide. Shuttle transfer to Puno.  Meals: Breakfast. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Puno.

Basic Accommodation Intiqa Hotel
Comfort Accommodation Casa Andina premium

Day 9

Lake Titicaca awaits you

Known as the Folklore Capital of Peru, Puno rests on the shores of the breathtaking Lake Titicaca and is set in the middle of the spectacular wilderness that is the flat altiplano. Legend has it that the children of the sun god, Manco Capac and his sister Mama Ocllo, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca to build the Inca Empire. The Incas invaded Puno but the local population was never fully dominated, and today this ancestral past is reflected in the mix of Quechua (descendants of the Incas) and Aymara cultures that coexist in the region. The Aymaras are a much feistier bunch and hold onto their traditions fiercely. In the morning you will depart for a full day excursion to Taquile, a remote island inhabited by the Aymara. Taquile is also well known for the “Sicuri”, a musical instrument made in the region and essential to the altiplano’s folklore. En route you will visit the incredible Uros Floating Islands, which are inhabited by locals and made from layers of native totara reeds.

Includes: Full day Taquile Tour (Group service) and entrance fees. Meals: Breakfast. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Puno. 

Basic Accommodation Intiqa Hotel
Comfort Accommodation Casa Andina premium

Day 10

Head to Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire

Early pick up from your hotel. Leaving Puno and Lake Titicaca behind, you’ll start your journey on a comfortable tourist bus that will take you to Cusco. The drive is approximately 10.5 hours long, and along the way, you will stop off at some of the country’s most beautiful locations. At the once great pre-Hispanic city of Pukara, characterized by its huge pyramids, you will visit the litic Museum, where you can admire several from this ancient period. The village is also known for its traditional ceramics, called “Torito de Pukara”. Your tour of Pukara which will last around 35 minutes, after which you will board the bus and head towards your next stop, La Raya. At 4,335m, this marks the highest point of the journey, and afterward, you will continue to the fascinating archaeological complex of Raqchi. Be amazed by the monumental size of Raqchi and its temple, which has walls that are almost 49ft (15m) high, a unique site for the Inca Empire. Our last stop before we arrive in Cusco is Andahuaylillas, a charming 16th Century village whose beautiful main square is home to the Church of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas, the pride of the town and its people. Cusco is located 25 minutes away from here.

The puma shaped “Navel of the World,” as its proud inhabitants call it, Cusco was the center of the Inca universe. When the Spanish arrived, they tried but failed, to quash the city by constructing extravagant colonial buildings on top of important Inca sites. This has left an interesting mix of architecture, with remains of Inca walls blending in with elaborate churches and red tiled roofs. We think you will agree when we say that Cusco city center is truly a place of beauty.

Includes: Shuttle bus from Puno to Cusco. Meals: Breakfast.  Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Cusco.

Basic Accommodation Casa Andina San Blas
Comfort Accommodation Hotel Tariq

Day 11

Discover the Sacred Valley of the Inca

Nestled deep within the Peruvian Andes, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the ancient name of the Vilcanota-Urubamba River Valley. Located about 9.3 miles (15km) north of Cusco, the valley extends to the northwest, through Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This region was once the heart of the Inca civilization during the 15th and 16th centuries, and today is home to many of its ruins. Your full day tour starts with a brief pit stop at Awanacancha after heading up to Pisaq, a hillside town famous for its Andean handicrafts as well as its archaeological site. Here you can see part of the “Tanqanamarca Cementery”, where it is estimated that over 10,000 burials took place. You will also visit the “Qantusraqay” neighborhood, a farming settlement comprised of rustic stone buildings built on the edges of the cliffs. After lunch (not included), you will heading to the next archaeological site, the Ollantaytambo ruins. The town has been built on top of original Inca foundations and is the best surviving example of Inca town planning. The stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, an incredible feat which involved the efforts of thousands of workers.

Includes: Full day tour through the Sacred Valley (group service), including entrance fees. Meals: Breakfast.  Overnight stay in a beautiful colonial hacienda near Urubamba.

Basic Accommodation Casona de Yucay
Comfort Accommodation Casa Andina premium

Day 12

Be at one with the Sacred Valley

You will have the day to explore the beauty of the Sacred Valley at your leisure. You can take a hike, or rent a bike and explore the valley or villages of Yucay and Urubamba, visiting their colorful markets and having lunch in one of the fantastic restaurants.

Includes: Overnight stay in a beautiful colonial hacienda near Urubamba. Meals: Breakfast

Basic Accommodation Casona de Yucay
Comfort Accommodation Casa Andina premium

Day 13

Conquer Machu Picchu

Transfer to Olantaytambo, where you will board the train to Aguas Calientes, which takes about two and a half hours. You will be met by a host at the Aguas Calientes train station, who will talk you through your itinerary. For Machu Picchu, you will be provided with an audio guide and headphones, so you can listen to the history of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is quite possibly the reason you came to Peru in the first place. It was recently voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and we guarantee that this magical spot will not disappoint you. Hidden among the Andes, the Incas managed to keep Machu Picchu concealed from the Spanish conquistadores for centuries. It remained covered by vegetation and, while known about by the local population, it was only revealed to the world in 1911 by US explorer Hiram Bingham. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Cusco, where you will be met at the train station and taken back to your hotel.

Includes: Transfer to Ollantaytambo, train from Olantayambo to Agus Calientes. Bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu (round trip), entrance fee to Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu tour with headphones (group service). Meals: breakfast. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Cusco. 

Basic Accommodation Casa Andina San Blas
Comfort Accommodation Hotel Tariq

Day 14

Get under the skin of Cusco

Discover Cusco, the Imperial City of the Incas, starting at the local market, where you will experience daily Cusqeuño life and traditional Peruvian culture. On this pleasant walk, you’ll visit the impressive Colonial Cathedral in Cusco, which contains over 400 paintings from the Cusqueña School, as well as several beautiful altars. After the Cathedral you will visit Qoricancha, which is considered the religious, geographical and political center of Cusco. The Temple of Qoricancha was where the Inca paid homage to the Sun god Inti. Walk uphill a bit to find the artisan quarter of San Blas, where you can visit the many artisan’s workshops and watch artisans in action. Return to your hotel in the evening.

Includes: Private city tour of San Blas neighborhood and San Pedro market. Meals: breakfast. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Cusco. 

Basic Accommodation Casa Andina San Blas
Comfort Accommodation Hotel Tariq

 

Day 15

Soak up Lima

Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, transfer to your hotel in Miraflores. You will have the rest of the day to relax, explore Lima a bit more and pick up some final souvenirs.

Includes: Transfer from hotel to the airport, flight from Cusco to Lima, transfer upon arrival from the airport in Lima to the hotel. Meals: breakfast. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Lima.

Basic Accommodation Hotel Carmel
Comfort Accommodation Hotel Antigua

Day 16

Time to go home!

Transfer to the airport for your international flight.

Includes: Transfer from your hotel to the airport. Meals: breakfast

Hotels & Prices

This tour is offered in group service only....

BASIC ACCOMMODATION

Basic accommodation in group tours

Lima: Hotel Carmel // Ica: Huacachinero // Nazca: Casa Andina Standard // Arequipa: Casa de Mi Abuela // Colca: Mamayachi / Puno: Intiqa Hotel // Cusco: Casa Andina San Blas // Sacred valley: Casona de Yucay

Single person traveling alone: $2,465/person
Two people in a shared double or twin room: $1,695/person
Three people in a shared triple room: $1,650/person

Single supplement: $450/person
Triple reduction: $45/person

COMFORT ACCOMMODATION

Comfortable 3-Star accommodation in group tours

Lima: Hotel Antigua // Paracas/Ica: Hacienda Bahia // Nazca: Nuevo Cantalloc // Arequipa: Casa Arequipa Boutique // Colca: Mamayachi // Puno: Casa Andina Premium // Cusco: Hotel Tariq // Sacred valley: Casa Andina Premium

Single person travelling: 2720 USD
Shared double or twin: 1680 USD
Single supplement: 797 USD
Triple reduction: 52 USD
Flight Lima Cusco RT with Lan: 310 USD

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