landscape of distant mountains, large plain and animals on peru highlights land tour
approaching machu picchu on peru highlights land tour
older woman descending cobblestone steps on peru highlights trip
peruvian woman in colorful clothing hangs crafts at market on peru highlights trip
cathedral in cusco as sun sets, seen on peru highlights land tour
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South America Peru Land Tour

Peru Highlights

On this 11-day Peru Highlights tour explore the heart and soul of one of the most fascinating civilizations in the Americas: the Incas. Tour Peru by plane, train and bus, returning each night to an upscale and comfortable hotel. Discover the historical towns of Lima and Cusco, journey through the Santa Catalina convent in Arequipa, emerge in the magical hot springs and witness soaring Andean condors in the Colca Canyon. Marvel at the traditions of water tribe villages on the islands of Lake Titicaca, be enriched by the merchants of the markets and textile centers of the Sacred Valley, and explore the great Incan mountain-top city of Machu Picchu. This is the best of Peru and you get to experience it all.

Begin in Lima, the capital of Peru, and explore the City of Kings’ museums, plazas, palaces, parks, cathedrals, monasteries, catacombs and the 2nd-century Ceremonial and Administrative Center of the Lima Culture that beautifully juxtaposes with the modernity of present-day Lima. Fly to the city of Arequipa to see one of the most beautiful squares in Peru, a cathedral exemplifying 19th century gold and silver architecture and the ancient Jesuit church of La Compañia.

Leave city life to delve into the countryside, through villages and towns, exploring what Peruvian life nestles beside nature’s best; observe volcanoes, species of birds and South American camelids in their natural habitat. Motorboat across the waters of Lake Titicaca and visit the floating islands of Uros, whose inhabitants, known as the Water Tribe, built their own islands by periodically adding new layers of vegetable fiber. Skip over to Taquile Island to enjoy lunch hosted by locals in their home. Marvel at their master weaver skills that have been passed down for generations.

Hop on another plane to Cusco, the Imperial City and archaeological capitol of South America, where the Plaza de Armas, the Spanish cathedral was built with great slabs of red granite that contrast the baroque style silverwork of its interior. Throughout Cusco and the surrounding areas, Inca history abounds with ceremonial ruins exemplifying Inca military power, rituals, fortresses and their dedication to the Sun God. The Sacred Valley offers Inca textile artists, the Pisac Markets for shopping and the Inca fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo, designed to guard the entrance to this part of the valley; it was later the scene of Inca resistance in 1537.

Finally, reach Machu Picchu, the famous Inca citadel and the great mountain-top city abandoned by the Inca Empire, reclaimed by the jungle and lost to humanity until its rediscovery in 1911. This pinnacle of an already bejeweled tour and the finale of your Peru Highlights tour is the famous Machu Picchu. Having explored the soul of one of the most fascinating civilizations in the Americas, return to your home with a new appreciation for the Peruvian ancient and modern story.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Peru tours.



Itinerary

Peru Highlights Itinerary

This 11-day Peru Highlights Trip explores by plane, train and bus, the heart and soul of one of the most fascinating civilizations in the Americas: the Incas. It begins and ends in Lima and ends in Cusco, Peru.

Route map of Peru Highlights land tour, operating from Lima to Cusco with visits to Miraflores, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, the Sacred Valley & Machu-Picchu.
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Day 1
Arrive Lima, Peru

Arrive at the Lima International Airport and be transferred to your hotel. A representative will assist with check-in procedures and provide a detailed itinerary, vouchers covering all the services included in the tour and additional information on the organization of your Peru trip.

Accommodations

Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores

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Day 2
Lima & Miraflores

Enjoy a half day guided sightseeing tour to the most attractive and important sites in Lima: the City of Kings. Visit Lima’s Historical Center, passing by Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and its Religious Art Museum (closed on Sunday and Saturday pm; Santo Domingo Convent is provided instead on these days), as well as San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts known as the Catacombs.

Continue through the residential districts of San Isidro and Miraflores, passing by the Huaca Pucllana, a ceremonial and administrative center of the Lima culture built in the second century that the Incas considered a “Ñaupallaqta” or Sacred Town. Visit El Olivar Park with olive trees brought from Spain in the fifteenth century, the Central Park of Miraflores and El Parque del Amor or Peruvian Love Park. Stop at the Larco Museum for an excellent overview of Peru’s ancient past, as it houses the best private collection of pre-Columbian art in the country. Tour through this old Hacienda House in the Pueblo Libre district, which was built upon a pre-Incan sacred site (huaca), housing the private collection of the great Peruvian scholar Don Rafael Larco Hoyle. The Larco Museum is one of the few museums in the world that allows such intimate access to its displays-around 45,000 pieces-and includes a fascinating exhibition of erotic pre-Colombian art. After the visit you will be transferred to your hotel and may spend the afternoon and evening at leisure.

Accommodations

Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores

Meals

breakfast

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Day 3
Fly to Arequipa

Meet a representative at the hotel lobby and transfer to the Lima Airport to board your independently arranged flight to Arequipa. A representative will assist with check-in procedures and all departure formalities. Upon arrival to Arequipa, transfer to the hotel and enjoy a half day city tour of Arequipa, including the main square, one of the most beautiful squares in Peru, and the Cathedral, a prime example of 19th Century Peruvian architecture housing beautiful treasures in gold and silver. Visit La Compañia Church, an ancient Jesuit temple which is perhaps the most important one in Arequipa due to its history and tradition. Then visit the Santa Catalina Convent, a ‘small town’ built in the 19th Century and opened to the public in 1970 after 400 years as a cloister, which has been perfectly preserved for four centuries. See the numerous spacious patios and gardens, the kitchen and slave quarters and the stone washtubs. About 20 nuns still live in a section of this convent. After the tour, return to your hotel and spend the afternoon at your leisure.

Accommodations

Casa Andina Standard Arequipa

Meals

breakfast

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Day 4
Arequipa & Colca Canyon

After breakfast, depart on a wonderful four-hour journey to the Colca Valley, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Drive across Pampa Canahous in Aguada Blanca National Reserve, inhabited by herds of vicunas and alpacas, and see the other face of Arequipa’s volcanoes Misti and Chachani. Drive across various lakes, beautiful landscapes, related to this ecosystem. A gratifying stop will make you taste a coca tea in a rustic restaurant on the road. At the highest point of the journey, observe many volcanoes, and in the distance, the source of the Amazon River. Upon arrival to Chivay town, enjoy included lunch, and perhaps take a short walk around town before being transferred to the hotel.

Accommodations

Colca Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 5
Cruz del Condor & Puno

Leave early this morning and head to the Cruz del Condor, an ideal place to observe (weather permitting) the majestic flight of the Condor, the largest bird in the world.

Visit traditional villages with ancient terraces constructed by the Collaguas, a pre-Inka culture. Stroll around the town of Maca, at the base of the volcano Sabancaya, and then Yanque with its church and baroque façade. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Chivay before traveling the roughly 8 hours towards Lake Titicaca, through beautiful landscapes corresponding to high altitude ecosystems, on mostly paved roads. Puno sits on the banks of Lake Titicaca–the highest navigable lake in the world. This region is the birthplace of Inca mythology.

Stop at Lagunillas viewpoint to observe a series of beautiful small lagoons called Lagunillas, where it may be possible to see Andean Flamingos and other Andean birds, trout farms and locals fishing on their artisan boats. Upon arrival in Puno, transfer to your hotel.

Accommodations

Sonesta Posadas del Inca Lake Titicaca Puno

Meals

breakfast and box lunch

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Day 6
Lake Titicaca & Taquile Island

Early in the morning, begin the day’s unforgettable motorboat excursion on the waters of Lake Titicaca to Taquile, a natural island inhabited by Quechua-speaking natives, who have developed efficient and unique social systems, as well as fine hand waving techniques, passed down through the generations. Continue on motorboat to the peninsula of Chucuito, for a stop at the rural Aymara Community of Luguina. Savor a buffet lunch, including regional dishes while enjoying a magnificent view of Lake Titicaca.

End the day with a visit to the floating islands of the Uros, ancient inhabitants of the lake known as the Water Tribe, who have built their own island by periodcically adding new layers of a vegetabel fiber of the Papayrus family called Totora (scirpus totora), which is unique to the area. After the day’s activities, return to your hotel in Puno.

Accommodations

Sonesta Posadas del Inca Lake Titicaca Puno

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 7
Puno to Cusco

Meet a representative in the hotel lobby and transfer to the Juliaca Airport to board your independently arranged flight to your next destination. A representative will assist you with the corresponding check-in procedures and all departure formalities. Upon arrival into Cusco International Airport, you will be met by a representative and private driver and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city of Cusco, the Imperial City and archaeological capital of South America, to admire the finest examples of Inca history and architecture. Visit the city’s most important historical monuments that reveal the influence of different cultures: the Plaza de Armas; the cathedral dating from Spanish viceroyalty times, built with great slabs of red granite renaissance style in contrast with the baroque style silverwork of its interior; and the Santo Domingo church built upon the foundations of the Inca temple Koricancha, dedicated in worship to the Sun God.

Continue to Cusco City’s main surrounding ruins: the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, a ceremonial compound and magnificent example of Inca military power that boasts a panoramic view of the city; the Qenqo Amphitheater, a ritualistic site with subterranean galleries that form an underground maze; Puca Pucara or red fortress; and the Inca Baths of Tambomachay. After the tour you will be transferred to your hotel.

Accommodations

Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

Meals

breakfast

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Day 8
Cusco & Sacred Valley

En route towards the Urubamba Valley, visit Awanacancha, an Andean textile center whose principal objective is to keep the wealth of Incan textile art alive. Learn about the dyeing techniques and instruments used for hundreds of years in the weaving of these famous textiles. Then visit the Pisac archeological complex, formed by a collection of remains of Incan dwellings, temples and terracing, all of which combine perfectly with the majestic landscape of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Continue on to the Pisac Markets for the chance to interact with the local folk and even barter with the merchants. End the day with a visit to the Incan fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo. This fortress was constructed in order to guard the entrance to this part of the valley and protect it from possible invasions of tribes from the jungle lowlands. It was later the scene of Incan resistance in 1537, when Manco Inca’s forces faced Hernando Pizarro’s troops. After the tour you will be driven back to your hotel.

Accommodations

Sonesta Posadas del Inca Inca Sacred Valley Yucay

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 9
Machu Picchu

Take a morning transfer to the train station for an amazing train journey to the famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, the great mountain-top city abandoned by the Inca Empire, reclaimed by the jungle and lost to humanity until its rediscovery in 1911. Along the way, enjoy the changing landscape as you travel from Andean highlands to the beginnings of the jungle, or “eyebrow of the jungle,” before finally arriving at the town of Aguas Calientes. Take a 20-minute bus ride up to the citadel of Machu Picchu, or Lost City of the Incas, which sits upon the summit bearing the same name and is one of the most representative and recognized examples of Incan architecture. A guided tour of the Citadel includes the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds.

The legendary Lost City is without a doubt one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. Built by the Incas on the summit of Machu Picchu, or “old peak,” it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River in a semi-tropical area 75 miles from the city of Cusco. Located on a mountain of extraordinary beauty in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height, with its giant walls, terraces and ramps, which appear as though they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. Machu Picchu is also one of the Inca’s best kept secrets since they did not leave written records and Spanish chronicles make no mention of the citadel; it remains a mystery. Enjoy a buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant and in the afternoon, return to your hotel.

Accommodations

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu to Cusco

This morning, the choice is yours. Today is an excellent opportunity to wake up early and enjoy a beautiful sunrise or stroll around the town of Aguas Calientes and visit its hot springs thermal waters. Other activities (not included in the overall price) include visiting the Citadel of Machu Picchu for a second time, or perhaps climbing up the Huayna Picchu from where you can appreciate the immensity of Machu Picchu, even more amazing from this height and distance. No guide services included this day.

In the afternoon return to Cusco by taking the shuttle bus to Aguas Calientes to board your return train. Upon arrival at the train station, be met by your representative and private driver who will transfer you to your Cusco hotel.

Accommodations

Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 11
Depart Cusco, Peru

This morning, meet a representative at the hotel lobby and transfer to the Cusco Airport to board your next flight. A representative will assist you with check-in procedures and all departure formalities.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Private services with local English speaking guide, except where otherwise specified; all entrance fees to the sites mentioned; meals as indicated in the itinerary; 1 roundtrip train ticket to Machu Picchu via Vistadome coach per person; 1 entrance ticket to Machu Picchu per person; 1 entrance ticket to Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu per person; 2 bus tickets to and from the Machu Picchu ruins per person; 10 nights accommodation; all tips except to hotel staff & guides (additional tips are optional and voluntary; guidelines may be provided).

Exclusions

International and domestic airfares; meals not described in itinerary; any other item not described in the itinerary; early check-in, late check-out and services not mentioned in the itinerary; personal expenses; drinks during meals; hotel extras and personal spending; tips to guides and hotel staff; local VAT taxes (applicable only to Peruvian and foreign residents of Peru). On the train journey to Machu Picchu, you will be limited to one piece of luggage weighing no more than 11 pounds and a total linear dimension (length + width + height) of 62 inches. You may keep excess luggage at your hotel in Cusco city.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days – 50% of deposit
90 to 31 days – 50% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Peru Highlights adventure begins in Lima, Peru (LIM), and ends in Cusco, Peru (CUZ). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Lima any time after 2:00pm on day 1 to accommodate hotel check-in times. Plan flights to depart Cusco any time on day 11. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Travelers are responsible for independently arranging domestic flights between Lima (LIM) and Arequipa (AQP), Peru on day 3 of the itinerary, as well as between Juliaca (JUL) and Cusco (CUZ), Peru on day 7. Transfers between hotels and airports, with a representative and private driver, are included in the trip price.

Activities

Activities may include guided tours, a visit to an open air market and other community and cultural visits, wildlife observation, van travel, motorboat rides, train rides and an optional (added cost) day hike up Huayna Picchu

Room Configuration

Individuals traveling with two or more people may book select double-occupancy rooms for single occupancy with a single supplement fee of $965, in addition to the per-person listed rate in select rooms upon availability. Triple rooms are available at the double rate.

Families & Children

Children younger than 10 years receive a 30% discount off the cost of an adult rate when the child does not require an additional bed. Only one child per double room is allowed. Children 9 years and younger receive a 10% discount off the cost of an adult rate when the child does require an additional bed.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance  or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Details

Departures available daily, year-round. Contact us for 2021 rates and availability.

2020 Rates
From $2925USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Hotel
Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores

Strategically located in the heart of Miraflores, Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores provides all the facilities and services of a first class hotel with a contemporary design and an unmistakable local style.

Hotel
Casa Andina Standard Arequipa

This comfortable, modern Peruvian hotel built with white volcanic stone is conveniently located for easy exploration of Arequipa.

Hotel
Colca Lodge

Colca Lodge is located in one of the most spectacular regions in the south of Peru: the Colca Valley. The hotel sits at an altitude of 10,663 feet above sea level on the banks of the Colca River offering pools of natural hot springs.

Hotel
Sonesta Posadas del Inca Lake Titicaca Puno

The renowned Sonesta Posadas del Inca Lake Titicaca Puno is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Enjoy amazing views, comfortable rooms, Inkafe restaurant and bar as well as traditional Peruvian hospitality.

Lodge
Sonesta Posadas del Inca Sacred Valley Yucay

Sonesta Posadas del Inca Sacred Valley Yucay is an 88-room country lodge at the site of a 350-year old restored monastery, just a train ride from Machu Picchu.

Lodge
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

At the luxury Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in lovely Aguas Calientes you are only minutes away by bus from Machu Picchu, the premier archeological adventure of the Inca Empire.

Hotel
Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

The Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco is located in a colonial-era mansion that is considered part of the cultural heritage of the city of Cusco. With its perfect combination of colonial and contemporary design, the Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco offers first class accommodation for an unforgettable experience.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Taylor Cranney • February 12th, 2020
Expert Review: How to Visit Machu Picchu

After traveling on the Machu Picchu Explorer trip with AdventureSmith Explorations, Adventure Specialist Taylor Cranney writes this expert review of the trip logistics. Use it as a guide for how to visit Machu Picchu and how to customize your own Peru tour with an expert’s advice.

Testimonial

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

"Every Aspect of This Trip Was Superb"

Every aspect of this trip was superb. I appreciated the attention to detail, the helpful and knowledgeable guides and the fact that we never had to worry about what comes next or where to get help. This is the first private guided vacation we've taken and it will definitely not be the last. I'll be sure to contact AdventureSmith for our next adventure!

Overall
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Accommodations
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Meals
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Peru Highlights

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