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Lima to Cuzco
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Overlanding is the best way to see South America by far! Dragoman have been leading the way in South American overland expeditions since 1990, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading to some unique hidden gems, well away from the usual tourist trail. If you want to see the best of Peru in a short timeframe, then this trip is a must. This fantastic itinerary takes in all the highlights between Lima and Cuzco, including the Ballestas Islands, the Huacachina Desert, the Nazca Lines, the Colca Canyon, Arequipa and of course Cuzco itself and the Inca Trails to the phenomenal ruins of Machu Picchu. Every day on this trip is packed with highlights, but our travellers tell us that the best part of it all is the week-long Community Inca Trail to Machu Picchu through the Urubamba Valley. As well as staying with our Quechuan Indian hosts to learn about their culture, you'll be trekking an ancient trade route which is unique to Dragoman and well away from other tourists trekking the 'Classic' Inca Trail, although that is still an option if you prefer. Another cultural highlight is staying in a typical Peruvian homestay in the quaint village of Raqchi where you'll sample local dishes and be treated to a ceremonial singing and dancing display. This is a truly special itinerary to see the very best of Peru!

Latin America

Duration: 17 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Hiking, Parks & Nature Reserves, Local Culture & Cuisine, Community Project , Historical Sites, Trekking Physical rating: Demanding
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 157990
Starts: Lima, Peru Finishes: Cuzco, Peru
You will visit
  • Lima
  • Huacachina
  • Ballestas Islands
  • Paracas
  • Nazca
  • Puerto Inca
  • Arequipa
  • Chivay
  • Raqchi
  • Cuzco
  • Sacred Valley
  • Inca Trail
  • Machu Picchu

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Lima

Border information: if joining in Lima, you will most likely enter Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport (IATA code: LIM).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Lima before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Lima.

In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical centre.

02

Day 2: Huacachina

Today we will have a very early start to leave Lima before the rush hour, and drive 270kms south to Paracas. There we will board one of the local boats for an included trip to the Ballestas Islands to view its incredible array of resident wildlife and birds.

After lunch, we will continue south to arrive at the stunning desert oasis town of Huacachina, where we have the option to head out for an evening of sand boarding and dune buggying and the further option to camp out under the stars in the deserts.

For those that do not wish to participate in the optional camping in the desert, in Huacachina we will stay in dorm accommodation in the village itself.

Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours, not including the time taken for the trip to the Ballestas Islands (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3: Nazca

Today we continue south to the world-famous village of Nazca, the location of the mysterious Nazca Lines. On the drive, we will stop at a viewing platform to get a glimpse of some of these lines. The Nazca Lines are a series of figures, lines, and geometric shapes that were etched into the ground of the desert plateau over a thousand years ago by the ancient Nazca culture, and their purpose is still unknown to this day.

In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to take an optional 30-minute flight over the Nazca Lines in a small aircraft - this is by far the best way of seeing the figures, and we use a local operator with an excellent safety record.

In Nazca we will camp at a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

04

Day 4: Puerto Inca

This morning we head south of Nazca, and have an included visit to the nearby ancient sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the Cahuachi Pyramid, thought to have once been the religious centre of the Nazca civilisation.

In the afternoon we will continue our drive to the coastal resort of Puerto Inca, where we camp at a well-equiped campsite on the beach.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

05

Day 5: Arequipa

Today we will start our drive inland, and head uphill to the beautiful ‘White City’ of Arequipa.

In Arequipa we will stay in a good local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

06

Day 6: Arequipa

Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or for some optional activities in and around the city.

07

Day 7: Chivay

We will have some more free time to explore Arequipa this morning, before continuing our drive to the highland town of Chivay after lunch.

In Chivay we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

08

Day 8: Chivay

This morning we will head out on a short drive to some of the best viewpoints along the spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world! The canyon is famous for its resident condors, and we will spend a good amount of time at the viewpoints to give ourselves the best chance of spotting them. We will also visit a couple of local communities on the way back to Chivay.

We will have a free afternoon to explore Chivay, and possibly take an optional trip to the nearby hot springs and zip-lining course.

09

Day 9: Raqchi

Today we will drive through the stunning landscapes of the Peruvian highlands to the small village of Raqchi. Here we will stay at a homestay as guests of the local villagers in their traditional family homes. The houses are very clean and have basic facilities. This evening the villagers will invite us to take part in a traditional Quechua religious ceremony, and we'll have some lively music from some of the village's musicians.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

10

Day 10: Cuzco

This morning we will visit the Inca ruins of the Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi, and then see a pottery demonstration at a local artisan centre.

In the afternoon we will drive to the incredible historical city of Cuzco, the former Inca capital. 

In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3 hours.

11

Day 11: Cuzco

Today we have a free day to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city.

There will be an important meeting this evening for our Community and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!

12

Day 12-15: Sacred Valley

These four days will be spent trekking in the Andes, either on our pioneering Community Trek or on the Classic Inca Trail. We will have a tour of the Sacred Valley, embark on our various treks, and end up at the phenomenal Inca site of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World!

Please see the Inca Trails section at the bottom of the detailed trip notes for each departure for details of the Community Trek and the Classic Inca Trail, as well as our non-trekking MAPI alternative.

We will camp during these nights (except for the first night of the Classic Trail and the last night of the Community Trek, which are both in a local hotel in Ollantaytambo). 

13

Day 16: Machu Picchu

This morning we will arrive at Machu Picchu, one of the world's most incredible and iconic historical sites. We'll have a guided tour with a local expert, and then have plenty of time to freely explore the area before catching the train back to Cuzco.

14

Day 17: Cuzco

Border information: if you are finishing in Cuzco, you will most likely exit Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Cuzco. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Take a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, and see their colossal colony of resident seals and seabirds
    • Visit the incredible ancient Nazca sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the nearby Cahuachi Pyramid
    • Visit the phenomenal Colca Conyon and search for the native Andean Condors that fly through its spectacular scenery
    • Stay at an incredible Quechua homestay with local families in Raqchi, taking part in a traditional religious ceremony and visiting a community crafts project in the village
    • Take a guided visit to the ruins of the Inca Temple of Wiracocha in Raqchi
    • Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsaywaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour
    • Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo
    • Options for the treks from Cuzco (please see the bottom of the Trip Notes for more details): Option 1 - Community Trek Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists and through local communities, on our exclusive Community Inca Trek. If you choose this option you will get a small refund from kitty. Option 2 - Classic Trek Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road. Your kitty has been budgeted to accommodate for this option as it is the most costly of the 3 options. Option 3 - MAPI non-trekking option Relax in Cuzco and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking. If you choose this option you will get a substantial refund from kitty. Important note: You must advise us at the time of booking if you wish to book the Classic Inca Trail or the MAPI non-trekking option, otherwise you will automatically be booked onto our Community Trek.
    • Explore the phenomenal and iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - take a guided tour and have plenty of time to freely explore before returning to Cuzco
    Tour Staff
    • 2 crew, local guides as necessary
    Accomodation
    • 30% Camping - 70% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • Community Project
  • Hiking & Trekking
  • History & Culture
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Overland Journey