Welcome to the unforgettable Explorer Peru trip, where you will discover the most popular destinations of this fascinating country!
Starting in Lima, at sea level, we have designed this journey to allow you to acclimatize to the altitude gradually as we make our way to the breathtaking Andean city of Cusco.
Our adventure begins by exploring the Peruvian capital of Lima, then we move south to the Paracas National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands, home to an impressive variety of wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and dolphins.
We will then continue to Ica, where we will have the opportunity to explore the famous Huacachina oasis and try our hand at sandboarding.
Next, we will venture to Nazca, where we will take a flight over the enigmatic Nazca Lines, one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
We will then journey to Arequipa, known as the “White City” due to the dazzling white buildings made of volcanic stone.
Here, we will visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, a colorful and peaceful colonial-era complex that was once a home to nuns.
Our adventure then takes us to the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons, where we will witness the awe-inspiring sight of the Andean condor soaring over the canyon’s walls.
We will then head to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where we will visit the floating islands of Uros and Taquile, where locals have preserved their traditional way of life for centuries.
Our final destination is the imperial city of Cusco, where we will explore its narrow cobbled streets and impressive Inca ruins.
We will then visit the Sacred Valley, where we will see the impressive Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo and the colorful Pisac market.
Our adventure will culminate with a visit to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most breathtaking archaeological sites of the world.
Throughout our journey, we will travel in comfort, staying in mid-range hotels with excellent service and ideal locations.
Most of our tours will be done in private, including our Machu Picchu tour, ensuring that you have the best possible experience.
We have designed this journey to allow you to acclimatize gradually to the altitude, ensuring that you can enjoy every moment of this unforgettable adventure in Peru.
Join us on the Explorer Peru trip and discover the magic of this beautiful country!
Day 1º: Welcome to the city of Lima. Pick up from the airport. Overnight in Lima.
Day 2º: City Tour of Lima. Bus to the Paracas Bay in the afternoon. Overnight in Paracas.
Day 3º: Ballestas Island and Paracas National Park. Visit the Huacachina Oasis. Overnight in Nazca.
Day 4º: Flight over the Nazca Lines. Overnight bus to the city of Arequipa.
Day 5º: Welcome to the White City of Arequipa – Free Day to explore this colonial city of on your own.
Day 6º: Excursion to the Colca Canyon. Hot springs in Chivay. Overnight in Colca Canyon.
Day 7º: Visit the Cruz del Condor. Bus ride to the city of Puno. Overnight in Puno.
Day 8º: Highlights of the Lake Titicaca. Uros floating community and Homestay on Amantani Island.
Day 9º: Visit the Taquile Island. Return to Puno. Overnight in Puno.
Day 10º: Travel to the city of Cusco by bus visiting the tourist attractions on route. Overnight in Cusco.
Day 11º: Cusco City Tour. Visit the best attractions in and around Cusco. Overnight in Cusco.
Day 12º: Tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Train to Aguas Calientes. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
Day 13º: Private tour to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu – Return by train to Cusco. Overnight in Cusco.
Day 14º: Flight bak to Lima. End of the trip.
Day 1°: Welcome to Lima.
Upon your arrival, you will be met by our representative at the airport of Lima.
Afterwards, our driver will transfer you to your hotel located at the residential zone of Miraflores.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Standard Miraflores *** or similar.
Day 2°: Morning free in Lima – Bus to Paracas.
Morning free in Lima. 12:00 h. Pick up from the hotel and then transferr to the bus station to take a local bus to the Paracas Bay. (3 hours bus drive). Upon your arrival in Paracas you will be met at the bus station by a representative from Mystery Peru and then you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight at the Hotel Double Tree Paracas By Hilton**** or similar.
Day 3°: Tour to the Ballestas Islands – Paracas Bay – Huacachina Oasis.
07:45 h. Our local guide will collect you from your hotel, and then you will be transferred to the Paracas harbor, which is located nearby. Upon arrival you will board a speed-boat to go to the Ballestas Islands a natural reserve that shelters an array of marine birds, such as Peruvian Bobbies, Pelicans, Inca Terns, Humboldt Penguins, vultures and hundreds of sea lions, which are usually seen swimming around the islands.
Along the way, we will stop our speed boat to see a popular geoglyph known as The Candelabro, an enigmatic design etched on the desert floor hundreds of years ago.
The Candelabra is overlooking the Ocean, so here you will have the chance to take photos, as well as to learn about its most popular theories. After our boat tour we will visit by land the Paracas National Park, which features nice beaches and breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
During our visit we will stop at the nice fishing village called Lagunillas where you may enjoy great sea food at any of the local restaurants.
We continue afterwards with a private vehicle to the City of Ica, a city, famous for its gorgeous sand dunes and its Pisco Sour.
In Ica we will visit an old winery, where you will be able to learn the old method of making wine and Pisco (a grape brandy).
After touring around its building, customers are invited to taste different types of wine and Pisco.
Later on we will head towards the Oasis known as Huacachina, a natural lagoon surrounded by palm trees and huge sand dunes, ideal to practice one the most popular sports of the southern coast “Sandboarding”.
Finally we will continue to the town of Nazca (2 hours drive).
Upon arrrival you will be dropped off at your hotel. Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Nasca *** or similar.
Day 4°: Flight over the Nazca Lines – Night bus to the city of Arequipa
08:30 h. You will be picked up from your hotel and then transferred to the local airport where you will take a small plane to fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines. The Nazca airport is located just 5 minutes by car from downtown.
Our aircraft will fly over a bizarre desert, where hundreds of years ago ancient Peruvians drew huge designs, which can be seen only from the air. Among the figures you will see an enormous representation of a monkey, a hummingbird, a condor, and a strange creature known as the Spaceman. Afternoon free. 21:00 h.
You will be picked up from your hotel and then transferred to the bus station.
Overnight bus to the White City of Arequipa. (The bus journey takes 8 hours).
Day 5°: Free Day to explore Arequipa on your own.
06:30 h. Upon arrival in Arequipa, you will be collected from the bus station by a representative of Mystery Peru, and then transferred to your hotel. This day is free for you to explore this beautiful Andean city.
Arequipa is a delightful Colonial City, situated at the foot of El Misti Volcano, a snow-capped perfect cone of 5,822 metres.
Known as the White City, Arequipa is teemed with fine Spanish buildings and wonderful natural landscape.
At the heart of the City, you may visit the magnificent Santa Catalina Monastery, the most remarkable sight in Arequipa, with numerous passageways and intricate architecture dating back to the XVI century.
At the Museum of Santuarios Andinos you may meet Juanita “The Ice Girl”, a well preserve Inca mummy, found high into the Andean glaciers some years ago. Its Plaza de Armas is one of the most beautiful of Peru, beautifully laid-out with palm trees and gardens, surrounded by arcaded buildings in colonial style, including the gorgeous Cathedral. Overnight at the hotel Casa Andina Classic Arequipa *** or similar.
Day 6°: Visit to the Colca Canyon & Hot Springs of Chivay.
08:00 h. You will be picked up from your hotel by our local guide/representative.
Afterwards we will drive northwest following a paved road towards the “Colca Canyon”.
Before leaving Arequipa, we will stop first at a small shop where our clients can buy some chocolates, candies and coca leaves, this will help to keep your sugar level high, and also help to ward off altitude sickness.
Later on we will continue till Pampas Cañahuas (3500 masl ), a National Reserve where visitors may spot some Vicuñas & Alpacas.
Unlike the Alpacas, Vicuñas are wild animals, and still can be seen running freely on these high plateaus.
We will stop at this national park and our local guide will provide information about these shy Andean camels.
Then we continue our journey to the Colca Canyon, little further up we will stop again at the little restaurant of Viscachani, where you can enjoy natural sceneries and also drink a typical coca tea.
Afterwards we will continue ascending a dirt road till we reach the highest point of our trip, ” The Lookout Point of the Andes (4800 masl). At the very top, we will get off of the bus some minutes to see the landscape, having in the background the volcanoes Ubinas, Mismi, Misti, Chachani, Sabancaya (active) and Ampato, all around 6000 metres high.
Later on we will drive down hill to the main village of the Colca Canyon, the Village of Chivay (3600 m).
In this town we will have lunch in one typical Andean restaurant, where visitors may enjoy their meals accompanied by Andean musicians.
After lunch our clients will be transferred to our lodge located in a little village at edge of the Canyon.
Late, in the afternoon, you may walk around the village and get to know better the rural life in this corner of Peru.
By the afternoon we will go to relax to the Hot Springs of the Colca Valley (35°), a nice pool located outdoors surrounded by huge mountains. Overnight at the Lodge Pozo del Cielo located at the little village of Chivay.
Day 7°: Visit to the Cruz del Condor – Bus to Puno.
In order to see the mighty Condor, you will be woken up at 05:00 h, breakfast will be served at 05:30 h, and by 06:00 h, we get on the bus to leave towards the “Cruz del Condor”, a natural lookout point where you can see the flight of the Condors (we won’t return to the lodgel, which means you must bring all your staff along with you on the bus).
On the road we will have the best view of the Colca Valley, as we drive along the edge of the Canyon, seeing on route ancient terraces still in use by the local farmers, who grow mainly varieties of corn and potato.
We will make some stops for photos, and our local guide will give us a good insight into the Colca Canyon history.
Here you will stumble upon a great rock, where ancient architectures carved the terraces, testing (perhaps) which parts of the Canyon were suitable for cultivation.
This is a good place also to see the “Colca River” and hanging pre-Inca tombs.
Eventually we will reach Cruz del Condor, where we will spend an hour or so, observing the beautiful flight of the Condors as well as the depth of the Canyon. (be careful and only walk on signed trails if you intent to go for a walk on your own).
After approximately one hour and a half, we will return to Chivay, passing typical towns along the way.
Later on we will have lunch at the community of Chivay and eventually will leave to the city of Puno on a tourist bus.
The bus to Puno leaves at 13:30 hrs, and the road offers great natural sceneries.
Along this paved road we will drive throughout small towns, as well as a beautiful lagoon called Lagunillas, where trout farms can be seen, and if you are lucky you might also see Andean Flamingoes and many others Andean birds.
The bus trip to Puno takes about 5 hours. Puno is one of Peru’s most tourist destinations and one of the most interesting spots in South America due to their religious feasts and wonderful history.
This Andean city lies at the shore of the Lake Titicaca (3,855 m), the world’s highest navigable lake.
According to legend, from its waters emerged Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, the mythical founders of the Inca Empire.
Puno is a major folklore center and a great place to buy handicrafts, particularly those amazingly fine Alpaca jumpers, hats and gloves.
It also boast a rich tradition of music and dance and it is a good place to enjoy a number of Andean festivals, some wild, some solemn.
Upon arrival in Puno, transfer to the hotel. Afternoon free for you to explore Puno.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Classic Puno *** or similar
Day 8°: Lake Titicaca – Homestay on Amantani Island.
07:30 h. You will be picked up from your hostel in Puno by our local guide and then transferred to the harbor.
We start our boat excursion of Lake Titicaca by visiting “The Uros Floating Islands”, a small community that has lived on these reed Islands for decades. Centuries ago the small indigenous Uros tribe conceived of the islands as a way to isolate and protect themselves from rival tribes, the Collas and the Incas.
The Uros people harvested the reeds in the shallows of the lake, bundled them together tightly and built floating island platforms complete with reed houses and canoes, creating in this way their own little world.
After strolling around the floating Islands, we continue our journey towards “Amantani Island”, where we will spend the rest of the day and the night.
Upon arrival, a group of native families will welcomed you at the harbor, and afterwards the guide will introduce you the family that will provide you lodging in their house.
The group is split in couples, so each couple goes with one family.
In the afternoon we will walk up to the highest point of the Islands to explore ancient ruins on a mountain called by locals Pachamama.
There are stunning views of the Lake from this lookout point and an amazing sunset.
Soon after nightfall, we descend to the main plaza and meet our local families, then we go to their houses for dinner.
At dinner you will be invited to go to the little kitchen (mind the head when entering, their doorways are very small), a warm place where they cook with a primitive stove made of clay.
By night, visitors are invited to a particular party.
Our local families will provide traditional clothing to attend this nice Andean party.
At the house, men are given ponchos and wooly hats, the hats are hand-made by the families, with unique styles, so that they can recognize you in the hall. Women are given colorful skirts, blouses and veils.
The party takes place at the main folklore saloon and it is accompanied by one of the local orchestras.
Overnight at a family house. (Please bear in mind that accommodation is very basic and rooms are with a shared bathroom).
Day 9°: Visit the Taquile Island – Return to Puno.
08:00 h. After breakfast, we will have to say goodbye to our local family and go down to the harbor to meet the rest of the group.
Afterwards we will sail towards “Taquile Island” (1 hour aprox.), a traditional Quechua speaking community, full of ancient agricultural terraces and some ruins dating back to the pre-Inca times.
The Taquile population was relatively isolated from the mainland until 1950s, and the notion of the community and family is still very strong among them. The weaving tradition of the Taquile Island goes back to early civilizations, thus keeps elements from pre-Inca Andean cultures alive in the present. All weaving is done on pre-Inca fixed and pedal looms.
The most characteristic garments are the so-called “Chullo”, a knitted hat with an earflap, and “The Calendar Waistband”, depicting the annual cycles connected to ritual and agricultural activities.
When visitors reach the island, they will have to walk up along a narrow path, enjoying on the way impressive views of the Lake Titicaca and also see gorgeous little houses inhabited by the direct decedents of the Inca Culture.
At the top, you will have free time to explore the Island on your own and afterwards you will have to meet the group for lunch at one local restaurant. After lunch, we will descent to the harbor to take our boat back to Puno.
We will be getting there by 17:00 hrs. approximately.
Upon your arrival at the harbor you will be met by a Mystery Peru representative and then will be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Puno *** or similar.
Day 10°: Bus ride to Cusco visiting the tourist attractions on route.
07:00 h. Pick up from your hotel in Puno and transfer to the bus station to take the local bus to the City of Cusco.
On this occasion Mystery Peru offers you a pleasant journey to Cusco, instead of taking the local bus and travel for 7 hours, without a chance of stretching our legs and enjoy this part of Peru, We offer our customers a especial bus service that stops along the way, showing you the highlights of this road with a English speaking guide on board.
We will stop first at the Community of Pukara, where you will visit with a local guide the Pukara Museum, an interesting place that houses ancient monolith and human remains from the Pukara culture.
Afterwards we will continue our journey throughout the Andean plateau till we reach the highest point on this route, a freezing place called “La Raya” , surrounded by huge snow-capped mountains at 4,335 meters high. At this point we will get off the bus for pictures and also, if you wish, to purchase some hand-made products of Alpaca or Vicuña wool, in one of the little shops nearby.
Afterwards we will descend towards the picturesque “village of Sicuani”, where we will enjoy a nice Buffet, which is served with native products of this region. Here you for sure will enjoy a real Andean lunch. (buffet included).
Later on, we will continue our tour at the famous “Inca Temple of Racchi”, here our local guide will show us the most important sectors of Racchi and will explain about the Inca Empire. Racchi is the only Inca place where visitors can see circular constructions, and walls of mud bricks, something you won’t see anywhere else on your trip.
Our trip continues in the traditional town of “Andahuaylillas”, where we will visit a impressive Cathedral built on the colonial era.
Eventually we will arrive in Cusco and at the bus station we will be picked up by a representative of Mystery Peru.
Rest of the afternoon free.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Casa Andina Cusco *** or similar.
Day 11°: City Tour of Cusco.
This gorgeous city lies at the head of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, at the heart of the Andes.
In Inca times Cusco was a Holy City, a place of pilgrimage, the center of their Empire.
A sacred place the Incas themselves believed was “The Navel of World”, thus its real name “Qosqo”.
Nowadays Cusco is a fascinating mix of Inca and Colonial Spanish architecture.
Colonial churches, monasteries, convents and Inca remains are found at every corner.
Many streets are lined with perfect Inca stonework’s, which served as foundation for most Spanish constructions.
09:00 h. We will do a City Tour, visiting the City’s Highlights located in and around Cusco.
We start off by visiting the huge “Inca Ceremonial Center of Sacsayhuaman”.
This enormous structure overlooks the city of Cusco.
Its constructions are amazing, with huge rocks perfectly fitted.
It is said that it took 20,000 workers 50 years to build it. The origin of Sacsayhuaman is uncertain.
The archaeologist attributed its construction to the Period of the Inca Pachacutec.
In the Inca language Pachacutec means Cataclysm, the man essentially credited with founding the Inca Empire.
Later on we will visit another important Inca site known as “Qenqo”.
This is a place with subterranean passages and carved stone channels in a zigzag pattern.
In its inner part there is a carved stone table where it is said the Incas mummified their dead.
Afterwards we will do a short visit to the archaeological Inca site of “Tambomachay”, a temple dedicated to the God of Water.
After these visits, we will return to Cusco, where we will visit one of the most sacred Inca buildings, “The Temple of Koricancha”.
Koricancha was the most important temple of the Inca Empire.
According to archaeologists it housed over 2000 priests and attendants.
Here religious ceremonies were constant and offerings to the Gods and the Inca’s ancestors were made each day.
Finally we will visit the beautiful “Cathedral” of Cusco.
This enormous Cathedral was built in the XVI.
It contained nearly 400 colonial paintings, including many from the Cusco School, which was prominent in the 17th century.
After our city tour our local guide will drop you off at your hotel. Free evening.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Standard Cusco *** or similar.
Day 12°: Sacred Valley of the Incas – Train to Aguas Calientes.
07:30 h. Our Sacred Valley adventure starts right at your hotel in Cusco. Our guide. will pick you up from there.
Along the road, we will stop at the textile center of Awanacancha, a project dedicated to elaborate textiles.
During this short visit, we will see various types of Andean Camels, among them the Vicuñas and Alpacas.
Shortly afterward we head to Pisac, an important Inca citadel located high above the modern Pisac village.
Like many other important Inca buildings, Pisac also houses the Intiwatana, a ritual stone associated with the stars.
Following the itinerary, we walk down to the Pisac Market, which is located nearby.
Around the market, you will find musical instruments, ceramics, and many other handmade products.
Shortly after we visit a typical restaurant, in which we will enjoy good Andean gastronomy.
Finally, we will leave in the direction of the Ruins of Ollantaytambo.
Once at the ruins, we do a private visit to the most important sectors of Ollantaytambo.
After exploring the ruins, we go to the station to take the train to Aguas Calientes.
The train trip offers great natural sceneries, with many staggering views.
Upon arrival, our representative will collect you from the station and then escort you to the hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Machu Picchu *** or similar.
Day 13°: Visit to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
06:00 h. After breakfast, our local guide meets you at the hotel lobby.
Shortly afterward, we take a tourist bus up to the ruins of Machu Picchu.
The bus ride lasts only twenty minutes, but, offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
Upon our arrival, our guide will show you the most remarkable sights of Machu Picchu.
Among the buildings, we will visit the Sun Temple, the Solar Clock, the Condor temple and others.
Likewise, we also visit the Inti Watana altar, a magnificent spot at the heart of Machu Picchu.
After exploring the city, you will have free time to walk around Machu Picchu on your own.
Eventually, we will take the bus down to the village of Aguas Calientes.Free time for lunch.
In Aguas Calientes, you have plenty of restaurant options.
Finally, we head to the station to take the train back to Cusco.
Upon your arrival in Cusco, our driver picks you up at the station and then drives you to your hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel Casa Andina Standard Cusco *** or similar.
Day 14°: Flight back to the city of Lima.
Morning free to explore the city on your own.
In the afternoon, transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the city of Lima.