8 Day Highlights of Peru
Our most popular Peru holiday, the ancient allure of Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley meet the buzz and bustle of Lima and Cusco with time spent with Insiders who share personal tales of their beloved country. It’s insider moments like… learning to weave in the Sacred Valley, watching centuries-old dyeing, spinning and weaving techniques, passed from mother to daughter, as the weavers keep their Andean traditions alive. Meeting the curator of the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian art, you explore the Larco Museum in Lima. And you hear tales of Dr Diez Canseco’s illustrious ancestors, as you tour his mansion, a traditional country house in Lima’s residential district of Surco, and settle down to a home-cooked Peruvian meal with him.
Our adventure map
Day by day
First Day Arrive Lima
Bienvenidos a Lima, founded in 1535 by conquistador Francisco Pizarro who dubbed it the “City of Kings.” A local host will greet you and take you to your hotel in San Isidro, one of Lima’s exclusive neighbourhoods bustling with shops and restaurants (check in time 3 p.m.).
Hotel: Novotel Lima
Second Day enjoy Lima Free Time and Sightseeing
Kick back, relax and enjoy your morning at the hotel, or perhaps venture out to do some exploring of your own: stroll the bustling streets or visit one of Lima’s lovely parks. At lunchtime, meet your Travel Director and head to Casa Diez Canseco, the private home of an illustrious Lima family, and meet the friendly owner for a Welcome Reception and A Be My Guest lunch. Learn about the history of your host’s ancestors and tour his historic home before celebrating your arrival in Peru with a sumptuous home-cooked meal of traditional Peruvian delicacies. After lunch, bid farewell to your host and spend the afternoon exploring Peru’s capital with your A Local Expert. Immerse yourself in the colonial splendour of Lima’s Historic Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the expansive Plaza de Armas with its impressive cathedral and the stately government palace. Then see the Church of San Francisco and discover its hidden catacombs and splendid architecture. The evening is yours—why not try one of Lima’s renowned seafood restaurants?
Third Day Fly from Lima to Cusco and Sacred Valley
Take a morning fight to Cusco and head for the Sacred Valley. Stop at Awanakancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes, where you can see and interact with llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Enjoy a picnic box lunch before visiting the vibrant market of Pisac where local Quechua people come to sell their produce and handicrafts. Spend some time browsing the stalls, sip a cup of coca tea to help you acclimate to the altitude and keep your ears open for roving bands playing the traditional music of the Andes. Later this afternoon, arrive at your lovely hotel, a former 18th century colonial-style monastery, surrounded by beautiful gardens in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Learn about the A Local Speciality of Peruvian weaving as you observe centuries-old methods of spinning, dyeing and weaving Andean traditional textiles. This evening, enjoy a convivial dinner with your travelling companions at the hotel.
Fourth Day its Lima Valley and Machu Picchu
After breakfast, head to Ollantaytambo to visit this famous Inca stronghold built from immense blocks of stone. Learn about Inca history as you tour the ruins of the hilltop fortress. Next, board the Vistadome train for the journey to the great citadel of the Incas (light snack included). Panoramic windows allow you to appreciate the incredible scenery as you follow the Rio Vilcanota to the town of Aquas Calientes. Upon arrival, take a short ride up to the entrance gate and begin your exploration of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Visit the ruins of this once-great fortress built in the 15th century and abandoned nearly 100 years later with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. See the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site – the great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana, an intricately carved rock most likely used as a sundial by the ancient Incas. Dinner is served at the hotel.
Hotel: Hotel El MaPi by Inkaterra
Fifth Day explore Machu Micchu then Cusco
Return to Machu Picchu to continue exploring on your own. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike up to the Gate of the Sun for stunning views over the fortress and the valley below. Or view the incredible stonework and the amazing feats of engineering required to transport the huge blocks of stone to the top of this isolated mountain. In the early afternoon, descend from your mountaintop aerie and board the train to the Sacred Valley. Then head toward the great colonial city of Cusco by coach. On the way, stop at a local chicheria for a taste of chicha, a A Local Speciality, and learn how this Peruvian corn beer is made only by women.
Hotel: Novotel Cusco
Sixth Day enjoy Cusco Sightseeing and Free Time
This morning, embark on a tour of Cusco, the “Imperial City,” and the capital of the Incas during their reign. This lively city, rich in history, bears marks of both the Inca and Spanish who came after them. Enjoy an introduction to the highlights of the city, including the incredible baroque Cathedral on the main Plaza de Armas at the heart of the city. Delve deeper into the history of this ancient place at the 17th century Church of Santo Domingo, which was built atop the foundations of the Inca Temple of the Sun, often referred to as Korikancha. Just outside of town, visit the ruins of the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, perched on a hill overlooking Cusco and see nearby shrines and warehouses where the Incas stored their grain. Spend the rest of the afternoon on your own in Cusco. This evening, gather with your travelling companions for a Regional Meal at a local restaurant, enjoying delicious Cuscuenian dishes and ancestral dance performances.
Seventh Day fly from Cusco to Lima for Free Time
Fly back to Lima late this morning and enjoy an afternoon on your own to do some more exploring, pick up souvenirs or just relax. Later, meet a A Local Expert, a curator at the Larco Museum, which houses the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art in the world, and learn about the evolution and cultures of Ancient Peru societies. Then gather with your travelling companions for a Farewell Dinner in the museum’s garden restaurant.
Hotel: Novotel Lima
Eighth Day Depart Lima
Transfer to the airport for your onward fight or extend your stay at the Novotel Lima.
- Cusco - City tour of Cusco.
- Lima - City tour of Lima, including a visit to the Larco Museum.
- Machu Picchu - Immerse yourself in the history and atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Sacred Valley - View native wildlife at Awanakancha. Visit the outdoor market at Pisac and the ruins at Ollantaytambo
- The Vistadome - Iconic train journey between the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes aboard the Vistadome train
4 lunches, Be My Guest Welcome Reception, 1 picnic box lunch, 7 breakfasts: 2 continental breakfasts, 5 full breakfasts. 4 evening meals: 2 dinners. 4 evening meals: Farewell Dinner Regional Meal
This world class award winning restaurant, hosted by renowned chef Jaime Pesaque, is located in front of the Cathedral in Plaza de Armas and is one of Cusco’s most popular. It has a bright and cozy atmosphere that features Peruvian cuisine consisting of fresh, mostly Andean ingredients. Appetizer, main course, dessert, pisco sour and coffee/tea are included in the meal. You can choose between two options for the appetizer, main course and dessert. Tip is additional.
A short drive from Cusco, you will visit Moray, the Inca agricultural greenhouse or laboratory that consists of four platforms that seem to disappear into a crater. At a depth of 500 feet (150 meters), the overlapping concentric circular stone rings widen as they rise. It was an experimental location the Incas used to study the adaptation of plants with agriculture. Next is the village of Maras, renowned for its ancient salt mines and wells. The salt has been used for economic purposes since the time of the Inca. You will meet the villagers who explain ancient salt mining techniques and have a chance to participate. Should this optional experience have more than two guests participating, the selling price may be reduced. Total duration is about 4 hours.
On this afternoon outing, visit 17th century Piquillacta, a pre-Inca citadel built by the Wari people, featuring an elusive history and bizarre architecture. Afterward, head to Andahuaylillas to see San Pedro Church, a perfect example of Peru’s colonial architecture and often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of America. Also, during this outing, if you wish you are invited to sample typical Peruvian chicharrones (pork) or cuy (guinea pig). Should this optional experience have more than two guests participating, the selling price may be reduced. Total duration is about 4 hours. (Minimum: 2 guests)
On this popular outing you visit the Choco Museum where you will learn the Peruvian chocolate making process from the cacao bean to the chocolate bar. You will participate in making the chocolate and experience the true feeling of a chocolate maker. Space is limited and total duration of this outing is 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Explore pre-Incan ruins dating back more than 2,000 years in downtown Lima. Long before stones were laid down to build Machu Picchu; the indigenous people of what is now Peru were constructing huacas (pyramid-like structures) for ceremonial purposes. Lima was constructed on top of these huacas. Your local guide will take you to two sites, Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca, and provide historical insight into these temples that were built by an unknown indigenous pre-Incan civilization. This optional experience can only be offered if you arrive the morning of Day 1 of your guided vacation or have purchased extra nights. Should this optional experience have more than two guests participating, the selling price may be reduced. Total duration is about 3 hours.
La Dama Juana Restaurant is unlike other restaurants in Lima. It combines typical Peruvian food with traditional folkloric dancing. The food is served buffet-style in clay pots. The options include a variety of Peruvian dishes and appetizers, including beef, fish, chicken, quinoa, potatoes, corn, and more. As you dine, watch the energetic dancers perform colonial and Inca ceremonial dances. The costumes are colorful and the music is lively. This optional experience can only be offered to guests that arrive to the hotel by 3pm on Day 1 of your guided vacation or have purchased extra nights. Total duration is about 3 hours. (Minimum: 2 guests)
Pachacamac is located around 30 km (19 mi) south of Lima and was constructed around 700 A.D. It was the most important ceremonial center on the Peruvian Coast during the pre-Inca and Inca period. The early inhabitants came here to worship and give offerings to their God “Pachacamac”, who was believed to be the creator of the world and all its creatures. The site includes several clay buildings including palaces, plazas and temples. This optional experience can only be offered if you arrive the morning of Day 1 of your guided vacation or if you have purchased extra nights. Should this optional experience have more than two guests participating, the selling price may be reduced. Total duration is about 3 hours.
Your culinary adventure begins at a typical Peruvian market, where you will find a wide variety of Peruvian products including unique fruits such as chirimoya, lúcuma, aguaymanto and pacae. You will also visit the exclusive restaurant, La Rosa Nautica, where you will learn to prepare Peru’s National drink, the Pisco Sour, by an expert mixologist. Also learn to prepare ceviche by the chef of the restaurant. Afterward, enjoy a delicious lunch featuring typical Peruvian cuisine. Total duration is about five hours. This optional experience is only available for guests that have purchased extra nights before or after their guided vacation.
The Magic Circuit of the Water is the world's largest fountain complex of beautiful interactive fountains featuring swaying water, colored lights and lasers which dance with the music rhythm. The Magic Fountain forces water to a height of more than 250 feet (80 meters) while the Children’s Fountain features a 130 foot (35 meters) walk through tunnel. Other fountains feature many surprises. This optional experience is available Wednesday to Sunday. Total duration is 2 ½ hours.
Where you stay
All hotels included in your tour package are hand-picked, of an outstanding standard and far better value than if booked individually. Our valued travel partners who organise these tours also own the Red Carnation Hotel Group and where possible Red Carnation Hotels are used and please see our link for further details.
- Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an on-board restroom
- The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey
- All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included
Guarantees, Bonds and Awards
- This tour is run by our outstanding travel partners who are multi-award winning Globe Best Tour operator in the world 2013, 2014 and 2015.
- Tours are fully bonded, protected and guaranteed and you pay the operator directly when booking.
- ABTA, IATA and ATOL protected
- Part of the Trade Right Foundation
Best prices, more information and booking
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