Experience the breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Peru as we travel to the country’s renowned archaeological sites as well as lesser known wonders. Discover the timeless local traditions of Lake Titicaca, wander the halls of a colonial-era convent in Arequipa, and delight in views of the Sacred Valley from the train to Machu Picchu. Ponder the mystery of the Nasca Lines, and soak up the charms of vibrant Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire.
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
Drive south to the sun-soaked coastal town of Paracas, which serves as the starting point for trips to the Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve. Check in to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure, opting to enjoy fresh seafood and pisco sour–Peru’s national drink.
Embark on a boat tour of the impressive Ballestas Islands, a group of rocky islets that provide refuge to sea lions, marine otters, penguins, and hundreds of species of seabirds. Next, we’ll visit the Tacama Winery, one of South America’s oldest wineries. Learn about the history of wine production in Peru with a resident expert, and enjoy a tasting of pisco. After lunch, drive towards Nasca, stopping at the oasis town of Huacachina to view its soaring sand dunes.
The Nasca province of Peru is named for the mysterious Nasca civilization that flourished here between 200 BC and 600 AD. Venture to a Nasca cemetery in the desert to see ancient mummies, cloth fragments, and pottery; then visit a nearby pottery studio for a demonstration of traditional pottery making techniques. For dinner tonight, we’ll enjoy a spread of delicious dishes cooked in the style of a pachamanca, an ancient technique of burying food in an earthen oven, lending a hand with the preparation. You can also opt for a flightseeing excursion over the enigmatic Nasca Lines—enormous drawings etched on the ground that are believed to have been created by the Nasca people.
Set off on a full day drive along the coast to the beautiful, volcano-framed town of Arequipa. Settle into your hotel and enjoy a restful evening after the day’s long journey.
Discover the sights of Arequipa, nicknamed the “white city” for its buildings made of white sillar—a type of volcanic rock. On a guided walking tour, explore the lanes of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, including a visit to the 16th-century Santa Catalina Monastery. Later, dig into Arequipa’s renowned cuisine with a cooking class led by a chef at a picantería, a traditional lunchtime restaurant. Try local favourites such as guinea pig, stuffed spicy peppers, and chicha—a local beer typically made from fermented maize.
Fly to Cusco, once the capital of the great Inca Empire and a designated World Heritage site. Settle into your hotel and explore the charming city on your own. Opt to visit Plaza de Armas, the historic main square; venture to the 15th-century Sacsayhuaman fortress; discover a stunning array of artifacts at the Inca Museum; and more.
Drive to the scenic Sacred Valley for a full day of exploration with a local guide. Tour the G Adventures–supported Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park, a rural Andean community working to preserve hundreds of varieties of native potato. During this exclusive experience, you'll walk through the park to learn about potato cultivation, traditional weaving, and the importance of both these practices to Andean culture. We’ll also visit the fascinating Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisac, and enjoy a meal at the G Adventures–supported Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo, an indigenous village.
Travel by train through the lush Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes, a frontier town nestled beneath Machu Picchu. The afternoon is free for optional excursions. Take a relaxing soak in the local hot springs, visit a botanical garden, or wander the handicraft stalls in town as you prepare for an early start the following day to go up to Machu Picchu.
This morning, embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu—the 15th-century Inca citadel famously introduced to the world by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in the April 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine. After being taken through the temples and terraces of this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site, return to Cusco by train.
Discover the cultural treasures of Cusco on your own today, or opt for a white-water rafting, horseback riding, or mountain biking excursion. Alternatively, roll up your sleeves for a hands-on cooking class, picking out fresh ingredients at the market and learning to prepare an array of Peruvian specialities. This evening, visit the Cusco Planetarium for a presentation on the skies of the Southern Hemisphere, and learn about the vital role that astronomy played in the lives of the ancient Inca. Weather permitting, peer through the planetarium's telescopes for a dazzling look at the stars.
Head south on a scenic drive to Puno, perched on the western shore of Lake Titicaca. The journey will take us through the Altiplano, a vast, windswept landscape of plateaus and plains that counts among the planet’s most extensive highlands. Arrive in Puno, the region’s commercial hub, and settle into your hotel.
Set out to explore Lake Titicaca—one of the highest navigable lakes in the world and the second largest lake in South America. On a guided boat tour, visit the floating Uros Islands—built entirely of reeds—and step ashore Taquile Island, home to a thriving indigenous textile industry. For lunch, we’ll head to the small rural community of Luquina Chico. Enjoy a traditional meal in the home of a local family while taking in sweeping views of Lake Titicaca and its picturesque isles. Later, opt for a tour of Sillustani, a fascinating pre-Inca burial site.
Transfer to the Juliaca airport to catch a flight back to Lima. Spend your last evening in Peru at leisure opt to explore the streets of Lima’s World Heritage-listed historic center and enjoy mouthwatering Peruvian tapas.
Depart at any time.