Machu Picchu with Andenes Ruins
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Best of Peru

A journey of supreme immersion visiting Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and the wild Amazon Jungle.

Overview

Discover all Peru has to offer with this 14-day Best of Peru tour, combining diverse landscapes, natural beauty, historical sites, archaeological legends, indigenous culture, and charming colonial cities.

Historical City of Lima

Begin your journey by exploring the historical capital city of Lima, learning about its ancient past all the way up to modern times. See history up close by visiting the historic center before strolling through the exquisite Larco Museum, full of historical objects from jewelry to artifacts to pottery. You’ll also have a chance to visit the modern districts of Miraflores and San Isidro. Throughout your land tour, you’ll be staying in the best hotels in Peru and can select between 4-star, 5-star, and Boutique hotels in each location.

Highland Highlights: Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca

From Lima, you will venture to the Sacred Valley to enjoy the beautiful surroundings as you acclimate to the changing altitude. Enjoy chauffeured trips to the colorful market in Pisac, the salt mines of Maras, the ancient Incan concentric terraces of Moray, the centuries-old traditional textiles in Chinchero, and the Incan fortress of Ollantaytambo.

Soon it’s time to experience Peru’s archeological legend, Machu Picchu. Anticipation builds as the train snakes its way through the picturesque mountains, heading uphill to Aquas Calientes. Once you arrive at Machu Picchu, you’ll be escorted by our expert guides throughout the site and return for a rare second visit the next day to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

A tour of Cusco, the ancient Inca capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, will be next. Here, in this Imperial City, you’ll explore the San Pedro market and various historical, archeological, and cultural sites.

Leaving Cusco, excursions abound as your make your way to Puno, where you’ll stay the night before traveling to Taquile Island and Uros Islands, better known as the man-made floating islands. Here you will experience Pre-Incan culture and meet the indigenous people of the area. Your last surprise in the Highlands will be the funerary towers (chullpas) of the ancient site of Sillustani.

Amazon Adventure Awaits

As your flight arrives in Iquitos, you’ll enjoy a rest at your hotel overnight before embarking on a 3-night Amazon adventure aboard the Perla cruise ship.

Once onboard, you can settle into your tranquil, air-conditioned cabin (Superior, Amazonian View, or Standard) before exploring the ship. Naturalist guides accompany you on board and introduce you to all the wonders of the Amazon throughout the cruise.

Enjoy regional cuisine as well as vegetarian alternatives, and join the various excursions, including elevated rainforest walks and artisanal piranha fishing. You’ll also have a chance to meet an authentic shaman and visit a native community to learn about ancestral traditions.

Skiff outings to discover the unique flora and fauna and to catch glimpses of the amazing wildlife, including pink dolphins and caimans, are also available. On the last night of your cruise, enjoy the sunset on deck before a special farewell dinner to conclude your Best of Peru tour.

Itinerary & Prices

All itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s or your guide's discretion.

14 Day - Best of Peru
itinerary map

Welcome to Lima!

Lima is a bustling, busy city and one of the most important in South America. Any trip to Peru will likely begin and end in the capital and visitors take advantage of the fact that Lima is widely regarded to be the culinary capital of the continent and home to many of the best restaurants in South America. Home of the ceviche and the Pisco Sour it is a city where the past and present mix beautifully, from the colonial center to modern Miraflores, through to the ancient Incan and pre-Incan culture which can be seen in Lima’s various museums.

A city of almost 11 million people, it is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. This unique location means it enjoys a microclimate of zero rainfall and is spread along the coast atop cliffs that offer beautiful sunset views and peaceful “malecóns”, even a short trip is guaranteed to be richly rewarding and a perfect introduction to Peru and its culture.

Meals: (x)

Lima Coastline with flowers
Location
Lima
Day
1 / 14

Lima Through The Ages

Today is dedicated to the fascinating history of Lima from ancient pre-Incan times through to the colonial era and the Spanish influence on Peruvian culture, architecture, and development. Beginning from your hotel, the route begins at the traditional Pueblo Libre district, where you visit the Larco Museum which is located in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built on a pre-Columbian pyramid from the seventh century. The museum boasts a complete pre-Hispanic collection of gold and silver objects, as well as pieces of erotic art. Then visit Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to one of his captains, Jerónimo de Aliaga. This is the only house from that time, that still belongs to the same family. Continue with a scenic tour through the colonial downtown. See the Main Square, where you can appreciate the exquisite architecture of the Spanish Empire. Admire Lima’s Cathedral, built during the 16th century. Finish the trip by returning to your hotel.

Meals: (B)

Lima Lighthouse
Location
Lima
Day
2 / 14

Lima to the Incan Sacred Valley

After a good night’s rest, enjoy a delicious breakfast before our air-conditioned private vehicle takes you to the airport for the next exciting installment in your Peruvian adventure. Assistance is provided so don’t worry about your bags! You will fly from Lima to Cusco, where you are met at the airport and transferred into the Sacred Valley. Our tours in the Cusco area always begin in the valley, which is approximately 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) lower in elevation than Cusco, so that guests may better acclimatize to the altitude.

Get ready to explore the most important ruins, which starts with a trip to historic Pisac. Our expert local guide will show you around the Temple of the Sun, ancient baths, altars, fountains, and ceremonial platform, and a type of sundial carved into the volcanic rock which was used for determining the time of year. At the side of the citadel, you will see the terraces that are still used to this day to grow crops.

After a quick visit to the colorful market of Pisac to buy souvenirs, we enjoy a traditional lunch in a restaurant in Urubamba.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Ollantaytambo Park, making a series of tops at points of interest. The Ollantaytambo town is a typical example of the urban planning of the Incas, whose residents still live by their old traditions. Pachacútec (1438-1471) conquered the town, destroyed it, and built a new one, absorbing it as part of his empire. It exhibits one of the most remarkable complexes of the Inca Empire. 

Meals: (B, L)

Ollantaytambo Ruins in Sacred Valley
Location
Cusco to Sacred Valley
Day
3 / 14

Maras, Moray, Chinchero and Ollantaytambo

The Maras salt mines were an important part of the economy of the Inca culture and to this day the salt produced in these mines, recognizable by its pinkish hue, is amongst the most sought-after and expensive in the world. From there, we take you to the picturesque archaeological site of Moray which is a huge expanse of concentric terraces which the Incas used a botanical laboratory. Once finished with this leg of the tour, we enjoy a typical Andean lunch at the Casa de Barro restaurant.

Our next stop is Chinchero, where you can learn about the centuries-old traditional textile making so important to the Andean people. You will have the chance here to buy traditional textiles and other souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Remaining in Chinchero we take in the 17th Century church built by the Spanish invaders and then the surrounding ruins, aqueducts, and agricultural terraces that sustained the local people hundreds of years ago.

Meals: (B, L)

Ruins of Moray in Sacred Valley
Location
Sacred Valley
Day
4 / 14

The Grandeur of Machu Picchu

Today is the big day! Get ready to tick one of the New Seven Wonders of the World off your list as we head to Machu Picchu Citadel. Leaving the Sacred Valley by train, we enjoy a peaceful snake through the mountains, uphill to Aguas Calientes, situated at the foot of Machu Picchu. The views on the way to Machu Picchu itself are an intrinsic part of the trip itself and worth savoring. Built in the mid 1400’s it acted as a royal estate to two different Inca rulers, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui and Tupac Inca Yupanqui. After 80 years of occupancy, it was abandoned, possibly due to Spanish infiltration in other parts of Peru, and remained abandoned until the early last century when efforts Hiram Bingham brought its existence to world attention.

Machu Picchu is divided into two sectors, the urban and the agricultural. Our expert guide will take you through both and show you the key spots in the ancient citadel such as the Temple of the Sun and the Room, the Intihuatana Stone, and the Room of Three Windows. The residential buildings feature exquisite stonework with no cement or mortar and are characterized by small trapezoid windows that face the morning sun. After our extensive tour, you return to your hotel in Machu Picchu town for a restful evening.

Meals: (B, L)

Intihuatana
Location
Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
Day
5 / 14

Sunrise & Huayna Picchu

After an early breakfast, we set off for a second self-guided visit to the famous citadel of Machu Picchu. A second trip means you get to experience something that not every visitor does, and get to see Machu Picchu from another angle. With your special second day pass you can enter via Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu’s smaller cousin or through Machu Picchu Mountain for a slightly softer option (Suitable for those that suffer from vertigo). Machu Picchu is a far larger sight than just the classic tour option and a second visit comes highly recommended for those with time. Those doing the 3.5-hour hike to Huayna Picchu are granted extra time to complete a second visit to the ruin so whichever of the two you choose; you won’t miss out on the astonishing extra sights such as the Inca Bridge and the Temple of the Moon.

Getting in nice and early to Machu Picchu is an option only feasible if you spend the night in Aguas Calientes. By doing this you can enjoy the sunrise over this incredible old citadel, a sight only the privileged few get to experience. As this is a largely visual experience you will not need a guide, just remember to take your time, and a camera as the views of Machu Picchu and the valley and river below are truly breathtaking. We finish with a comfortable ride back to Cusco or the Sacred Valley. For those riding back aboard the Luxury Hiram Bingham train, enjoy a cocktail and a delicious 4-course gourmet meal.

Meals: (B)

Train to Machu Picchu
Location
Machu Picchu to Cusco
Day
6 / 14

Ancient Inca Capital City

Today, we pick you up at your hotel for your tour of Cusco and its most important archeological sites. Cusco, known as the Imperial City, and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is home to Inca structures with a smattering of colonial influence. Start visiting the traditional and bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, residence of artists and craftsmen. Discover its streets, between bars, shops and art galleries. Then continue with the iconic San Pedro market, a local market where you can explore the myriad colors, flavors, textures and traditions of modern Cusco.

The visit continues with the Plaza de Armas or main square and visit the Cathedral, finally visit the Convent of Santo Domingo, also known as the Koricancha Temple, an ancient Inca palace and cult center of the Sun God, above which the order of the Dominicans built a church. It remains standing to this day. Still standing to this day, this temple/church really is a remarkable building and an amalgamation of the two cultures. 

Meals: (B)

San Pedro Market in Cusco
Location
Cusco
Day
7 / 14

Through the Altiplano to Puno

We set off through the astonishingly beautiful Southern Valley of Cusco towards Puno. But this trip is more than just a transfer of seven hours between two great cities, it is, in itself, a series of fascinating excursions. We will take you through the wonderful Andes scenery. First, stop in Andahuaylillas, a town located 40 kilometers from Cusco that has as its main attraction the Church of Andahuaylillas, nicknamed the ‘Sistine Chapel of America’, due to the impressive art found in it. After this, continue the route to Racchi, where the Wiracocha Temple is located, a surprising 30-meter wide by 20-meter high construction of rectangular shape. Have a tasty lunch in Sicuani, followed by a brief stop in La Raya, the highest point between Puno and Cusco, over 4,313 meters above sea level. Then, arrive at Pucara town, where the Pucara Lithic Museum is located. Developed between 100 and 300 AC, this town was the first proper urban settlement of the lacustrine highlands. Finally, head on to your final destination of Puno, your hotel.

Meals: (B, L)

Raqchi Ruins outside Cusco
Location
Cusco to Puno
Day
8 / 14

Taquile and The Floating Islands

Transfer to the lacustrine port of Puno, where a boat takes you to the floating island of the Uros. The Uros is an ancestral society that populates a series of artificial islands built with totora plant, a type of reed that grows in the Titikaka Lake. There they build their houses, also from totora. After an hour and a half ride, continue your trip to the island of Taquile. This island was part of the Inca Empire, and its inhabitants speak Quechua. Once there, receive a briefing about the island. Have a tasty lunch, and start your return to Puno.

Meals: (B, L)

Walking path Silustani Lake Titicaca
Location
Puno
Day
9 / 14

From The Highlands to the Amazon

After breakfast, we have one last surprise for you before leaving the highlands. En-route to the airport, we make a stop at the mysterious, ancient site of Sillustani, home to the area’s best preserved chullpas, or funerary towers. Once a burial ground for the Pucara, Tiahuanaco, and Ccolla pre-Inca cultures, and then the Incas themselves, Sillustani’s chullpas offer an ideal opportunity to compare the contrasting pre-Columbian architectonic styles.
Symbolizing life and birth, these ancient tombs were used for chiefs and other dignitaries. Made of stones weighing up to six tons, the biggest tower took around 50 years to complete. Offering archaeology and history, in a stunning natural setting, situated as it is by a lake and up high in the hills around Puno. Farewell takes place at Juliaca airport for your flight to Iquitos, via Lima. In Iquitos, you are met at the airport for a transfer to your hotel where you rest up for your adventure in the Amazon!

Meals: (B)

Location
Puno to Iquitos
Day
10 / 14

Embarkation

AM: Enjoy breakfast in your hotel before meeting us mid-afternoon at the Hilton Iquitos DoubleTree hotel, where you will receive your first orientation talk about the adventure you are about to begin! Then, we will head in a private vehicle to the city of Nauta, the historical fluvial port where we board the ship.

Before we arrive at Nauta, we will explore Iquitos, a colorful and dynamic city with a captivating history. Here, you will appreciate the most emblematic local attractions and for those who wish, enjoy a snack.

PM: Once in Nauta, we will board the Perla cruise ship and our staff will accompany you to your cabin, equipped especially for you, with all the comfort you need for a pleasant trip. We initiate the trip and head towards the confluence of the rivers Marañon and Ucayali, the rainforest’s majestic location where the Amazon River is born. Next, our naturalist guides will present the travel plan, the programmed activities, and best of all – they will begin to introduce you to the extraordinary world of the Amazon’s wildlife. Pay attention to their advice and recommendations, and keep in mind that if you have any doubts or questions, our guides are here to help you.

Following the presentation aboard, we will have a welcome lunch, your first experience with the delights of regional cuisine. The menu offers various options, including a vegetarian alternative. If you have any particular restrictions or requirements, please let our crew know in advance so we can take care of it as soon as possible.

Afterward, we will start a boat outing in the direction of the Communal Reserve of Yanayacu de Yacapana to explore its amazing flora and fauna. Towards the evening, we will go in search of animals that can only be seen when the night falls: caimans, bats, frogs, tarantulas, and other species found in our rainforest’s lush mounts. After this first immersion in the Peruvian Amazon’s universe, we will go back to the ship to enjoy dinner, get some rest, and recuperate energies.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Perla On the Amazon
Location
Perla Amazon Cruise
Day
11 / 14

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Marañon River, Yanayacu of Pucate, San Regis & Amazon Natural Park

AM: In the morning, we will organize a fun picnic breakfast on the Yanayacu de Pucate River, one of the most protected and preserved areas of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This area is usually visited by pink dolphins and is ideal for small boats. Kayaks are available at your disposal so you can live the experience of rowing in one of the most beautiful aquatic ecosystems in the world. Also, if you want, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the river.

PM: After lunch on board, we will start a walk through the rainforest towards the suspension bridges, a set of structures outstretched high in the trees. Here you can walk among the leafy tops and admire the richness of the jungle from a unique and elevated perspective.

Later, we will go to meet the shaman of San Regis, a sage from the native community who will share with us their knowledge about the rituals of his ancestors, medicinal plants, and the Amazonian worldview. Our guides will be the interpreters in case you have some questions or comments for the shaman. After this authentic experience of spiritual reflection and exploration, we will continue with the ceremony of planting a tree, as a contribution to protecting our environment. Back on the ship, we will enjoy a peaceful evening with music and a comforting dinner.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Amazon River Winding
Location
Perla Amazon Cruise
Day
12 / 14

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, San Jose de Zarapanga, Shiriyacu, Pacaya Samiria National Reserve & Puerto Prado

AM: We will start this morning with breakfast and then head on a boat expedition with destination to the Shiriyacu river stream. Once there we will look for the perfect spot for piranha fishing. We will use local equipment and local techniques. Back on the ship, we will have a lecture on techniques and tools for geographic orientation in the rainforest. If you prefer, you can take a rest until lunchtime.

PM: Following snacks, we will head to Puerto Prado where we will visit the native community Kukama Prado and learn about their traditions and ancestral practices. We will participate in a culinary demonstration and taste typical regional dishes. We will also go to the small market where the women from the community offer their hand made creations. If you wish, you can buy crafts and other products and, in that way contribute to the local economy. Next, we will go on a walk by the mount to observe the “Victoria Regias”, the largest water lily in the world.

Upon returning to La Perla, we will reserve a spot to contemplate the sunset. We especially recommend that you relax and enjoy this moment, as few experiences compare to watching the sunset on the deck, sailing on a mighty Amazonian river, and observing endless colors on the horizon. We will then wait for the night to come and allow us to hear the prodigious symphony of the millions of animals that populate the forests and waters of this jungle. Late into the night, we will enjoy some live music before the crew’s final presentation and the farewell dinner.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Location
Perla Amazon Cruise
Day
13 / 14

Disembarkation

AM: After breakfast, we begin to disembark. On the way to the airport, stop by the Amazon Rescue Center (CREA), where biologists and volunteers take care of manatees (an endangered species) rescued by the authorities. We’ll see how the manatees are cared for and prepped for reinsertion into their natural habitat. We also get to see other animals that have been rescued from attempts to turn them into pets and other dangerous situations.

Afterward, you will be transferred to Iquitos airport for your departure flight back to Lima.

Meals: (B)

Location
Return Home
Day
14 / 14
1 / 14

Accommodations

Cruises & Lodges

Perla at sunset

La Perla

Authentic Amazon cruising in a fun and comfortable vessel tailor made for adventure.
28 Guests
14 Cabins
View

Hotel Options

4 Star

Aloft Miraflores

Lima
4 Star

Aranwa Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley
4 Star

Casa del Sol Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu
4 Star

Antigua Casona San Blas

Cusco
4 Star

Jose Antonio

Lake Titicaca
4 Star

Victoria Regia

Iquitos
victoria regia exterior iquitos
5 Star

JW Marriott Miraflores

Lima
5 Star

Tambo del Inka

Sacred Valley
5 Star

Sumaq

Machu Picchu
5 Star

JW Marriott el Convento Cusco

Cusco
5 Star

GHL

Lake Titicaca
Boutique

Atemporal

Lima
Boutique

Sol & Luna

Sacred Valley
5 Star

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo

Machu Picchu
inkaterra-pueblo-aguascalientes-exterior1
Boutique

Palacio Manco Capac

Cusco
Boutique

Titilaka

Lake Titicaca
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