Paracas Peru Coastline with surf
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Nazca Lines & Machu Picchu

This family-friendly trip includes Nazca Lines flight, the Paracas Reserve, and Machu Picchu visit.

Itinerary & Prices

13 Day / 12 Night - Nazca Lines & Machu Picchu
itinerary map

Arrival 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 Churros Sweets in basket
Location
Lima
Day
1 / 13

Barranco Street Art & History

Barranco is perhaps Lima’s best-kept secret, an up-and-coming bohemian area some ten minutes from the tourist district of Miraflores. It is an authentic, artsy, bohemian area rich in history and modern-day creativity. On today’s tour, we focus on the amazing street art present on the walls throughout the district and how it blends seamlessly with the colonial feel of Barranco. Against the backdrop of gorgeous neo-classical colonial and republican architecture, we breeze along the boardwalk of Barranco and visit both art galleries and independent local art shops.

After lunch, we venture to the center of Lima to experience the bustle and activity of the old colonial empire and take in the major sights. On this tour, we show you all of the important legislative, religious, and administrative buildings of Lima past and present including the two main squares, San Martin and the Plaza de Armas, as well as the municipal building, the Archbishop’s Palace as well as the Governmental Palace and of course the Cathedral. Once finished our tour we take in a show whilst dining on local fare.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Grafiti Art Bear with Glasses
Location
Lima
Day
2 / 13

Nazca Lines and Dune Buggies

Today we head to the beachside resort of Paracas by tourist bus (private transfer is also available, ask us for details)

Along the way, your guide will give information about Peruvian coastal populations and cultures through the ages. Our first excursion is a flight over the Nazca Lines. We board a light aircraft that will take you over the Nazca plane, and the many geoglyphs representing stylized animals and plants, as well as geometric shapes such as trapeziums, triangles, and spirals cut into the earth and preserved for around 2,000 years. This is the best way to see these astounding and immense works, as from ground level they are far too big to be recognizable as the amazing works of art that they truly are.

Our afternoon excursion is a thrill-seeking ride over the dunes of neighboring Paracas. We begin with a light walk through the dunes to get a feel for our environment before boarding the dune buggies for a ride beginning at the bottom of the dunes as we snake our way up to the top of a dune of 150 meters in height. There we take a moment to enjoy the view, have a walk along the crest of the dune itself, and then the more adventurous among the group will have the option to sandboard (think surfing, but on the sand!) their way back down to the bottom of the dunes.

Meals: (B)

Monkey Geoglyph peru nazca
Location
Paracas to Nazca
Day
3 / 13

Ballestas Islands By Boat

Today we discover the Ballestas Islands, home to peculiar and diverse coastal fauna. Its sometimes referred to as the younger sibling of the Galapagos. After a light breakfast – always better when venturing out on a boat – this two-hour journey takes us around several small islands of the coast of Paracas where we have the opportunity to see many of the native species in their natural habitat. To the background cries of sea lions and various birds, you spend the morning spotting Humboldt penguins and large sea mammals.

On the way to the islands keep your eyes peeled for a sight of yet another giant geoglyph, the Candelabro (Candlestick) carved on the desert soil, making this a morning of archeological and natural history discovery. Please remember to bring your camera, sunscreen, hat, binoculars, windbreaker, sunglasses and to take motion sickness pills if sensitive. Once we return to shore we transfer you on to your bus or private car for the journey back to Lima.

Meals: (B)

Sea Lion on the rocks
Location
Paracas to Lima
Day
4 / 13

Chinchero, Maras and Moray

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.

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 at the PARWA Center in 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)

Sacred Valley Ruins Moray
Location
Lima to Sacred Valley
Day
5 / 13

The Citadel 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, we put you back on the train to your hotel in either Cusco or the Sacred Valley.

Meals: (B, L)

Family standing at Machu Picchu
Location
Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
Day
6 / 13

City Tour and Planetarium

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. You start your tour at 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 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. From there, we ascend to the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive example of Inca military architecture. Afterwards, you will explore Q’enqo archeological site, where important Inca ceremonies took place before moving on to the Plaza de Armas, home to the Cathedral, and the centerpiece of the city.


This afternoon, you will live a one-of-a-kind experience at the Planetarium of Cusco. Located only fifteen minutes from the city center we offer a learning experience of cosmic proportions. We will learn about the important relationship between the Andean man and the cosmos, how that evolved through the ages, and the importance and significance of the night skies to cultures past and present. Like many cultures, the Incans were fascinated by the constellations and celestial displays and here we can gain an explanation of what the beliefs and cultures were in relation to the night sky.

Thanks to special equipment, a starry sky, and constellation drawings will be projected, which will allow you to see the wonders of the universe up close. Finally, you will go to the exterior of the Planetarium where, if weather permits, you will be able to witness what is known as “the oldest show in the world”, observing the stars and constellations through telescopes and other astronomical observation instruments.

Meals: (B)

Cusco main plaza with church
Location
Cusco
Day
7 / 13

Chocolate before the Jungle

Everyone likes chocolate and yet not everyone knows where it comes from or even what it looks like in its natural form – known as cacao. Today we venture out on a walk through the city of Cusco and learn the step-by-step process of the elaboration of chocolate, from bean to bar. Peru is a producer of many of the finest varieties of cacao in the world and as such also produces some of the best chocolate in the world. While most of the cacao grown in Peru is exported, there are some artisan chocolate makers that still produce bars of chocolate in the most traditional way know.

First, we learn to roast the beans and then process them. Once roasted we peel them and then grind them down to make our master paste. This paste is what is used for making hot chocolate and you may have noticed the traditional Cusqueñan drink on menus in the city. From there the paste is processed into chocolate, which according to the mix you make will be darker and bolder, or lighter and sweeter. All the paste and chocolate you make is yours to keep and you can take it home with you, along with the knowledge and expertise of how to make more!

After, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Iquitos, where you will be met and taken to your hotel for a good night’s rest.

Meals: (B)

Floating Restaurant in Amazon Rainforest
Location
Cusco to Iquitos
Day
8 / 13

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.

PM: Our staff will show you to your suite, equipped with comfortable beds, 100% Peruvian Pima cotton sheets, cotton bathrobes, air conditioning, and a private bathroom with a shower and amenities. Before setting sail, our bartender will serve you a cocktail prepared with local fruit and pisco, the most popular liquor in Peru. You can sip it while enjoying 360° views from the observation deck or a panoramic view from the indoor or outdoor lounge.

After setting sail, our naturalist guides will offer an overview of the travel itinerary, including activities, routes, information about wildlife and vegetation, geographical and historical context, as well as other useful info. If you have any doubts or concerns, our guides are always available to answer your questions.

We’ll then enjoy the welcome dinner. Start your journey by sampling the selected wines and dining Peruvian cuisine with an Amazon flare. There are many options on our menu, including vegetarian alternatives. Please let us know in advance if you have any special dietary needs. After dinner, you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the starry night sky while we start our journey to the depth of the Amazon rainforest.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Zafiro Cruising on the amazon
Location
Zafiro Amazon Cruise
Day
9 / 13

Amazon River, Kukama Reserve (Yanayacu of Yucapana), Source of the Amazon, Marañón River, Puerto Prado Community & Nauta Creek

AM: Before breakfast, go out for a boating expedition on the Amazon River to explore the local flora and fauna. When you get back enjoy our breakfast buffet. We offer a daily selection of traditional dishes including Peruvian specialties, freshly baked goods, and a range of freshly squeezed juices. After breakfast, head out to see the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers, which give rise to the Amazon River. Here we can observe the pink and gray river dolphins.

PM: We’ll go back to the boat for lunch by midday and then have time to rest. Make sure you attend the talk about the source of the Amazon and the hydrography of the river so that you’ll be up to speed for our walk to Puerto Prado! Here we will see the “Victoria Regias”, the largest water lily in the world. We’ll then head back to the boat for dinner and live music. After dinner, enjoy a nighttime outing in search of caimans, tarantulas, frogs, and other nocturnal species.

Meals: (B, L, D)

Kid playing with river dolphin
Location
Zafiro Amazon Cruise
Day
10 / 13

Yanayacu of Pucate, Japanese Lagoon, Yanayaquillo, San Regis & Amazonian Natural Park

AM: Breakfast and outing on the skiff to different lakes and lagoons, until we reach the Japanese Lagoon. There, we’ll enjoy a picnic and one of the best conserved and protected areas of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. It’s also a popular spot to view pink river dolphins from the skiff. Before heading back to the Zafiro, we’ll take a trip to the Yanaquillo. Once we’re back on the cruise ship, we’ll get ready to go kayaking and take a dip in the black waters.

PM: Head back for lunch aboard the Zafiro. Before starting the afternoon activity, our guides will give a talk about the Amazon philosophy. Afterward, we’ll take a walk through the rainforest overhanging bridges, where you can admire the riches of the rainforest from the treetops. Once we’re back on the Zafiro, our bartender will give a demonstration of how to make Peruvian cocktails, and we’ll then enjoy live music while we await the gala dinner with the captain.

Meals: (B, L, D)

girl crossing treetop canopy
Location
Zafiro Amazon Cruise
Day
11 / 13

Marañón River, San Regis & Shiriyacu

AM: Breakfast and visit to the community of San Regis, where we’ll learn about the local people’s way of life and traditions. We’ll also learn about their ancestral traditions from the community’s shaman. With our guides as interpreters, we’ll be able to ask questions about spiritual connections and curing the soul. We’ll then continue the ceremony by planting a tree as a positive contribution to the environment. There, we’ll also see a market set up by women from the community to sell their handmade crafts.

PM: Head back for lunch aboard the Zafiro. After resting, the guides will tell us about the myths and legends of the Amazon. In the afternoon, we’ll head out on a skiff to the Shiriyacu stream. There, we’ll find the perfect spot to do some piranha fishing using local techniques and equipment. Back on the boat, we’ll enjoy the stunning colors of the sunset. Back on the Zafiro, you’ll have some time to relax and enjoy live music before the presentation by the crew and farewell dinner.

Meals: (B, L, D)

kid holding up piranha catch
Location
Zafiro Amazon Cruise
Day
12 / 13

Disembarkation

AM: Before breakfast, visit Nauta, the second most important city in the region. Upon arriving, we take a motorcycle taxi to the local market where you can see what business in the town is like firsthand. We also take a visit to the Sapi Sapi lagoon, an arapaima hatchery. This is the second-largest freshwater fish in the world. Here you can see Arrau turtles, butterflies, and different species of birds and fish that call this lagoon home.

After, we head back to the Zafiro for breakfast. 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)

very cheerful photo pose on a kayak
Location
Return Home
Day
13 / 13
1 / 13

Accommodations

Cruises & Lodges

Zafiro cruising the Amazon

Zafiro

Elegant luxury cruising into the depths of Peru's Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
38 Guests
19 Cabins
View

Hotel Options

4 Star

Innside

Lima
5 Star

Belmond Miraflores Park

Lima
Boutique

Hotel B

Lima
Hotel B in Barranco Area
4 Star

La Hacienda Bahia Paracas

Paracas
5 Star

Hotel Paracas

Paracas
4 Star

El Mercado

Cusco
5 Star

Belmond Monasterio

Cusco
Boutique

El Retablo

Cusco
4 Star

Victoria Regia

Iquitos
victoria regia exterior iquitos
5 Star

Double Tree Iquitos

Iquitos
Boutique

Casa Morey

Iquitos