Be dazzled by Peru’s myriad treasures on a 15-day tour of its highlights. Encounter the vibrant local culture of Lake Titicaca, walk the halls of a historical convent in colonial Arequipa, and delight in views of the Sacred Valley from the comfort of the train to Machu Picchu. Marvel at the strange, mysterious beauty of the Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether watching for wildlife or exploring Incan culture, strike travel gold in this incredible country.
Arequipa Cooking Class, Dig into Arequipa’s famous regional cuisine and take part in a cooking class with an award-winning local chef. Be sure to sample rocoto relleno (stuffed spicy peppers) and a glass or two of chicha (corn beer).
Cusco Planetarium, Visit the Cusco Planetarium, which is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Llaullipata Ecological Reserve. Use telescopes to gaze up at the southern sky and see thousands of stars. Spot the constellations of the southern hemisphere, and learn about the ancient Incas’ relationship with the cosmos.
Lake Titicaca Community Home Lunch, Visit the Luquina Chico community on the shores of beautiful Lake Titicaca and take in sweeping views of the lake and its islands. During lunch in the home of a local family, get a personal view of everyday life in rural Peru.
Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Learn how the resident-run restaurant was kickstarted by G Adventures along with the Planeterra Foundation and the Multilateral Investment Fund, to become a successful farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy and several spin-off microenterprises.
Pisco winery visit and tasting, Located in the Ica Valley, the picturesque Tacama Winery is one of South America’s oldest. Take a guided tour of its vast grounds and learn about the production of wine and spirits in Peru. Round off your visit with a taste of Tacama’s award-winning pisco.
Traditional Andean Experience, Exclusive to National Geographic Journeys travellers – and part of G Adventures for Good – visit the “Parque de la Papa” (“Potato Park”), a network of six rural agricultural communities in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Walk through this special community with a local guide for immersive time observing agricultural, weaving, and cultural traditions.
Itinerary - 15 Days
Day 1 Lima
Arrive in Lima at any time. On arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.
Please note: if you booked the Lima Cooking Class it does not include extra time in Lima and we highly recommend booking pre-trip accommodation. You will be picked up from your hotel at approx 10:00 (10:30 from Aug-Dec) and taken to a local market and restaurant to prepare and enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal. You will return back to your hotel around 13:00.
Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
On arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.
Private Vehicle (0.75-1.00 hours)
Day 2 Lima/Paracas (1B)
Enjoy a drive down the coastal desert to Paracas, a sleepy fishing village that serves as the starting point for all tours to the Ballestas Islands.
There is little to do in town, but for those that love seafood and are looking to try Peru's national drink, the Pisco Sour, it's heaven.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 285km)
Day 3 Paracas/Nazca (1B)
The Ballestas Islands are often referred to as "the poor man's Galapagos." Home to hundreds of sea lions and many species of marine birds, including the Humboldt penguin, incredible wildlife spotting is pretty much guaranteed.
Continue south by land to Nazca with a stop to see the Huacachina sand dunes along the way.
Ballestas Islands Trip
Pisco winery visit and tasting
Huacachina Sand Dunes
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 175km)
Day 4 Nazca (1B, 1D)
Nazca is home to one of the world's greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. The entire desert area was also once the home for the ancient Paracas and the Nazca cultures, which preceded the Incas by more than half a millennium.
Nazca Desert Cemetery and Potter's Studio Guided Tour
Day 5 Nazca/Arequipa (1B, 1L)
Embark on a very long drive, which will include rest stops and lunch at Oasis Camana.
Private Vehicle (10.00-11.00 hours, 420km)
Day 6 Arequipa (1B, 1L)
Peru’s second most important city after Lima, Arequipa maintains a traditional colonial style and more laid back pace in comparison with the capital. Spectacular mountains surround Arequipa, the most famous of which is El Misti Volcano. Standing at 5822m (19096 ft), it has a beautiful snow-capped peak.
Arequipa City Tour & Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Convent Visit
Arequipa Cooking Class
Day 7 Arequipa/Cusco (1B)
Every year Cusco attracts thousands of travellers who come to delve into its noble but tragic past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. Relax and explore this fascinating city, and take time to acclimatize to the high altitude.
Plane (1.50 hour(s))
Day 8 Cusco/Urubamba (1B, 1L)
Enjoy a full-day excursion to the Sacred Valley including the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins. Visit the “Parque de la Papa” (“Potato Park”), exclusive to Journeys and part of G Adventures for Good – walk through this rural community with a local guide to learn about potato cultivation, weaving, and the importance of both to Andean culture. Also, enjoy lunch at the G Adventures-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo, an indigenous village.
Pisac Ruins Guided Tour
Ollantaytambo Ruins Guided Tour
Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley
Traditional Andean Experience
Parque de la Papa (Potato Park)
Times includes all stops and visits enroute through the Sacred Valley.
Private Vehicle (1.75 hour(s), 94km)
Day 9 Urubamba/Aguas Calientes (1B)
Board a morning train that winds through the spectacular Sacred Valley to the end of the line: the village of Aguas Calientes, a frontier town nestled in the hills beneath Machu Picchu. This is the closest town to Machu Picchu, making Aguas Calientes an ideal night stop.
To best enjoy this area, take advantage of the opportunity to visit the butterfly house, botanical gardens, or hot springs. Opt for a day hike to Mandor Gardens to see orchids and a waterfall, enjoying the lush, green scenery en route.
For serious archaeology buffs, there is time for an optional independent visit to Machu Picchu before the guided tour the following morning.
Please bear in mind that the town has several amenities, but is also geographically remote meaning services are sometimes more basic than one would assume. As the only option for travellers visiting Machu Picchu, the development of infrastructure has happened quite quickly, much without proper planning, and the focus on providing quality service may not be up to the standards experienced in other parts of the country.
Those who have chosen the option in advance to hike the "1-day Inca Trail" will disembark the train at km 104 to begin the trek. The trail rises steeply up into the mountains and will take hikers past the archaeological sites of Wiñay Wayna and Inti Pata, where a local guide will provide insight into the fascinating culture of the Incas, en route to the trek's culmination at the Sun Gate. Enjoy a packed lunch along the way and reach the Sun Gate in the late afternoon with a chance for a preliminary exploration of Machu Picchu before the guided tour on Day 10. Transfer by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes to rejoin the group and spend the night in a hotel. If time permits, take an optional visit to the nearby hot springs to soak your sore muscles.
Those taking the 1-day Inca Trail option:
Approximate Distance: 11km (6.8 mi)
Estimated Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Private Vehicle (1.00-2.00 hours)
Train (1.50 hour(s))
Day 10 Aguas Calientes/Cusco (1B)
Rise early to take advantage of viewing Machu Picchu in the early morning light. This is the best time to view the "lost city of the Incas." Join our local guide for a detailed interpretation of the site and Inca history without the pressure of other tour groups that arrive at midday.
Later in the afternoon, return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and then transfer by van to Cusco, arriving in the evening.
Machu Picchu Guided Tour
Local bus (0.25 hour(s))
Train (2.00-3.00 hours, 118km)
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 95km)
Day 11 Cusco (1B)
Take in the Plaza de Armas (main square) and explore a city steeped in tradition. There are numerous optional activities including horseback riding, mountain or motor biking, rafting, hiking or visits to Inca ruins or museums around town.
Please note if you pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class, on day 11 you will be picked up from your hotel at approx 12:30 and taken to a local market and restaurant to prepare and enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal. You will return back to your hotel around 16:00
Day 12 Cusco/Puno (1B)
The trip to Puno takes the better part of the day, and includes stark, beautiful scenery en route as you travel through the high Altiplano region.
Located at 3830m (12,566 ft) above sea level, Puno is the highest night stop on the tour. As a result the weather can be extreme with very cold nights and a strong sun during the day. You also should take some time to acclimatize to the high altitude.
Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 321km)
Day 13 Puno (1B, 1L)
In the morning, board a comfortable 35-foot fully equipped speed boat to explore the lake. Stop at various islands to enjoy the lake's scenic splendor and to meet the friendly people of these communities.
Day Trip to Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca Community Home Lunch
Day 14 Puno/Lima (1B)
Time for some last-minute shopping in Puno before the flight back to Lima and the final stop on the journey. Enjoy one last night out on the town.
Plane (2.00-2.50 hours, 572km)
Day 15 Lima (1B)
Depart at any time.