Escape to Peru

  • $3495
  • 14 Days

Tour Details

Overview

Imagine a journey deep into the heart of the Inca Empire, walking in the footsteps of the ancients.

Have you ever thought of exploring the ancient ruins of a lost civilization? Your Escape to Peru will take you on an unforgettable tour through the Sacred Valley, the main artery of commerce and life for the ancient Inca Empire.

You’ll also have the chance to journey 2,430 meters above sea-level to the dramatic forested slopes of the Andes Mountains. Additionally, we will take you along ancient trails, which have guided the steps of pilgrims, tourists, and locals for hundreds of years.

At your destination, you can explore one of the world’s most famous and celebrated historical sites, the terraced ruins of the ancient and mysterious Machu Picchu.

But that’s not all!

Visit the Ballestas Islands wildlife reserve, where you will encounter sea lions, penguins, cormorants, and an abundance of other birds and marine life.

Tour Colca Canyon, a dramatic cleft offering unmatched views.

Journey to Titicaca, the largest freshwater lake in South America. Snow-capped peaks make for a dramatic backdrop against deep blue waters and picturesque ruins.

Visit Cusco, a city high in the Peruvian Andes. Formerly the capital of the vast and mighty Incan Empire, Cusco is host to impressive archaeological sites. Characterized by Spanish colonial architecture, mountainous vistas, and a thriving modern culture with ancient historical roots, it is indeed a city like no other.

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Itinerary

Day 1

Lima

Your Escape to Peru adventure begins the moment you disembark at the airport in Lima!

Once you arrive at your hotel, you will meet with your tour assistant. Your assistant will review the itinerary for the next few days with you and introduce you to the restaurants, amenities, and attractions available to you in Lima.

You are free to explore Lima that first night on your own, but we want to make sure you have a fantastic time—so feel free to ask your assistant any questions you might have!

 

Day 2

Pisco

At 1:30 pm, our tour bus will depart.  We’ll arrive in Pisco early in the day, so you will have the rest of the afternoon to explore Paracas at your leisure. For instance, you can walk around town, explore historical sites, try the local cuisine (it’s incredible!), and soak up in the beauty of the surrounding nature.

Pisco is home to the Paracas culture, a thriving pre-Incan civilization which lasted from around 900 BC until about 200 AD.  That culture has left a lasting impression on the Paracas region.

Pisco is the staging point for your journey to Ballestas Island! At 6:30, we will meet up at the hotel to discuss tomorrow’s tour through Peru’s most famous wildlife refuge!

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 3

Ballestas Island

Many of our tour participants cite this as one of the major highlights of their Peruvian adventure! If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you will be blown away by the living wonder of the Ballestas Islands refuge.

Ballestas showcases spectacular biodiversity. The place is home to more than 160 species of marine birds— including cormorants, boobies, pelicans, and Humboldt penguins.  You’ll also get to enjoy close encounters with sea lions and other marine mammals. Be sure to bring your camera!  Even if you’re only a casual wildlife photographer, you’re bound to want to take some unbelievable shots of this fantastic place.

After your tour of Ballestas Island, we will drive to the desert oasis of Huacachina.  Huacachina is a gem—a glittering emerald lagoon surrounded by palm trees and huarangos (carob trees, in case you’re wondering).

Stretching around this little peaceful oasis are miles of dunes. As for activities, you can take a ride in a dune buggy, go sandboarding, or just relax around the lagoon! How you spend your evening is up to you! At 10 pm, we take the bus to Nazca, where we will spend the night.

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 4

Nazca

If you think crop circles are neat, you haven’t seen anything yet!  The Nazca Lines are a series of mysterious, tremendous ancient glyphs spanning the Nazca Desert. There are more than 70 glyphs in all. Some are simple designs, while others are quite elaborate portrayals of animals like monkeys, lizards, and spiders. No one is sure who made these designs or why, but most scholars believe they originated with the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD.  Thanks to the windless desolation of the plateau, these designs have been remarkably preserved across the ages.

Want to know the best part? You get the best possible view of the Nazca Lines because we take you overhead on a scenic flight!

This is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience like no other.  And that’s not all, either!

Just 30 km from Nazca, we land and embark on an expedition to the archaeological cemetery of Chauchilla. Thousands of graves here have been opened here by robbers, providing an excellent view of the skeletons, broken pottery, and other artifacts and remnants left behind.

At 10 pm, we will take the bus to Arequipa. We will remain on the bus overnight.

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 5

Arequipa

We spend the entire fifth day exploring Arequipa! Arequipa is the third most populated city in Peru. The backdrop of the town is awe-inspiring, dominated by three soaring volcanoes.  Founded by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1540, the city itself was constructed out of volcanic rock. Spanish colonial architecture and native building techniques here are combined in a rare expression of timeless beauty.

While in Arequipa, you can opt to go on a tour of the city or take a hike up Volcano Misti. You can also try out the delicious local cuisine, go shopping, or just relax and enjoy the scenery.

At 18:30, we will meet at the hotel to talk about what’s next during your Escape to Peru!

Overnight in Arequipa

No meals included

 

Days 6-7

Colca Canyon

If the natural beauty of Peru’s dramatic scenery is what has drawn you to embark on this South American adventure, Days 6-7 of our tour will take your breath away!  In the morning, our tour guide will meet you at your hotel for a 6-hour bus ride to Chivay, a picturesque little town near Peru’s famed Colca Canyon.  If you’ve seen the Grand Canyon in the USA … well, those memories are about to pale in comparison to what you’re about to see. Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.  And the distance from top to bottom is more than 3,993 meters in some places!  There are no words to describe the vastness of open space. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.

In the afternoon, we will explore Chivay. Optionally, you can relax in the hot springs of Calera (price not included). We’ll spend the night in Chivay, and the next day, we will take the bus to Mirador Cruz del Condor.  This is the most famous view of the canyon and a spectacular place to behold the majestic condors in flight.  Watching them fly, you will wish you were one of them—and may even feel like you are, so high above the world!  After visiting Mirador Cruz del Condor and the nearby villages along the canyon’s edge, we will return to Arequipa for another night.

Overnight: Chivay and Arequipa

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

 

Day 8

We’ll get an early start in the morning and disembark from the Arequipa bus terminal for a six-hour ride to Puno. On the journey, you’ll behold spectacular views of the mountains surrounding Arequipa as well as the flatlands of Puno and Lake Titicaca.

You’ll experience all eight of the natural regions of Peru on your journey. When you arrive at the Puno bus station, we’ll be there to pick you up and drive you to the hotel.

At 18:30, we’ll brief you on the next leg of your trip, the tour of Lake Titicaca!

Overnight in Puno

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Days 9-10

Lake Titicaca

This is another of the big highlights of your Peruvian adventure! Hop onboard our private car for an unforgettable two-day experience. On our trip to Lake Titicaca, we will visit the Uros floating islands, constructed entirely out of reeds!

We will then take a boat trip to the Peninsula of Capachica.  Here you will be able to walk along an ancient Incan trail which has been beautifully preserved!  Plus, you will be able to look out across the same incredible views of Lake Titicaca that the ancients enjoyed.  Imagine it, the beautiful, bold blue waters, the vast open sky, the snow-capped peaks, the stark beauty of a high-altitude wilderness like no other.  You get to eat a relaxing picnic lunch by the lakeside, just basking in the picturesque splendor of your surroundings. After that, we’ll take a motorboat to Ticonata Island. Verdant grass, charming huts, and welcoming locals await you there.

Ticonata Island is an extraordinary place.  About twelve years ago, the natives were almost entirely gone; there were only a couple of families still living there. Thanks to a community project, a dozen families now reside on the island and teach visitors about the ancient traditions of the Ticonatas. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that only a few visitors are permitted on the island at any one time, so this is a truly unique opportunity.

After you have settled in, you can take a short hike to the top of the hill where you will see an ancient ritual site the locals still use. The hill provides a stunning view of the sunset (this is the perfect time to take out your cameras!).  After sunset, you’ll get to partake of an authentic dinner and watch native dances performed by the islanders around a traditional bonfire.  This is a fantastic chance to get a genuine, personal insight into the essence of a living indigenous culture.

On the second day, we’ll enjoy an indigenous breakfast, and then take the boat to Amantani Island. This is a 2-3 hour ride which offers incredible views of the lake. Once we arrive, we’ll get to meet the natives of Amantani Island. There are many easy, relaxing walks you can take around the village and the surrounding nature. You’ll eat lunch at a local house and have a chance to learn about the culture and people.

Finally, the boat will return us to Puno, concluding the Lake Titicaca experience.  It is one that will stay with you though for the rest of your life!  But now, it’s on to Cusco!

Overnight in Ticonata Island and Puno

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

 

Day 11

Cusco

Now comes another of the most exciting highlights of your Peruvian journey, a visit to Cusco!  Early in the morning on the eleventh day, we will pick you up from the hotel and drive you to the bus station in one of our private vans.  The ride to Cusco is a beautiful six-hour trip through some of the most unique scenery you will ever behold. You’ll get to enjoy more views of the flatlands surrounding Lake Titicaca. When we get to Cusco, you’ll get to see the soaring peaks of the Andes.  At the highest point in the ride, you’ll reach La Raya at 4,313 meters above sea level.

Once you arrive at the Cusco bus station, we’ll pick you up in our private vehicle and drive you to your hotel.  After you settle in, you’ll meet with your tour guide. We’ll show you around the city and introduce you to the best that Cusco has to offer!  Don’t worry—you’ll get time to explore on your own tomorrow.

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 12

Day Off in Cusco

Cusco is too remarkable a city to just pass up.  That’s why we’re giving you the entire twelfth day to explore the city at your leisure. You pick the pace and the activities.  Shop, eat or check out the surrounding countryside.  There are plenty of rafting, horseback riding, and biking tours you can sign up for!  At 18:30, meet back up at the hotel for a briefing on tomorrow’s tour of the Sacred Valley.

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 13

Sacred Valley, Pisaq, and Ollantaytambo

Now comes the most exciting part of the tour for ancient history buffs: a tour through the heart of ancient Incan civilization!

After breakfast, your tour guide will drive you to the Sacred Valley in our private car.  Along the way, you’ll see stunning valley views and the lovely Andean villages of Taray, Qorao, and Huancalle. We’ll stop at some “miradors” (viewpoints) en route to Pisaq.  You’ll behold the mighty Urubamba River and the majesty of snow-capped peaks rising 5,000-6,000 meters.

In Pisaq, you will explore the archaeological site of Pisac, including the famous Intihuatana (The Hitching Post of the Sun), a protruding rock used as a calendar or clock by the ancient Incans.  You’ll also get to see the Incan agricultural terraces which are still used for farming today. You will then be able to shop for traditional Andean wares in the market. Around noon, we’ll drive to Ollantaytambo. We’ll stop for a buffet lunch in a gourmet restaurant along the way.

Ollantaytambo is an impressive site. There is still a traditional town here today, along with the ancient ruins of the royal estate of Emperor Pachacutec, including beautifully preserved bathhouses, temples, storehouses, quarries, and fortifications.  When the Spanish conquered Peru, it served as the base of the resistance leader, Manco Inca. Many of the people living in Ollantaytambo today still occupy the houses their ancestors resided in generations before!

Following a guided tour of Ollantaytambo, we will take a train to Aguas Calientes, the staging post for your journey to Machu Picchu!  This ride takes an hour and 45 minutes.

Overnight in Aguas Calientes

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 14

Machu Picchu

Your magical journey to Peru culminates in a trek to famous Machu Picchu.  The bus ride is only 30 minutes, leaving you the rest of the day to explore this mystical place!  No one knows for sure what Machu Picchu’s purpose was to the ancients, but its significance is undisputed.  During the tour, your guide will share history and theories with you. Once the tour is complete, you’ll be free to wander around the ruins at your own pace. For instance, you can hike to the nearby dramatic viewpoint of the Sun’s Gateway, take an easier stroll to an ancient drawbridge, or just lose yourself in the history and wonder of this ancient city and its beautiful terraces.

When the day concludes, we’ll take the train back to Cusco.

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: 1 breakfast

 

Day 14

Lima and Home

On the final day of your tour, we’ll get you back to Lima from where you can fly home. If your flight departs in the evening, we’ll set up a city tour for you or give you shopping and eating tips.

This is a day to relax and relive your memories.

Ready to embark on a two-week vacation to Peru and create memories that last a lifetime? Let’s get started now!

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