Lima, Nazca, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Ballestas Islands
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Your 7-day Peru adventure tour has you bask in the sensational history of the country tailored to take you deep into the magnificent past. From the mysterious illustrations carved into the Nazca desert to the decadent ruins of Machu Picchu, you will find the history of the nation steeped within the diversity of its natural beauty. You can make the journey and indulge in the captivating marvels of Peru.
Lima – Pride on Display
Welcome to the capital city of Lima where the modern city stretches over the lengths of a Spanish colonial past bordered by the sea and framed with colorful neighborhoods. You can see homes shining bright green, blue, and orange, climbing up the mountainside in the distance. The gentle scent of ocean mist breezes along the streets. Stroll through the historic center of the city and see the Plaza de Armas, where the opulent stunning bronze fountain at the center of the square is a reminder of the plaza’s importance as the center for the Spanish continent-wide empire.
Explore the Museo de la Nacíon, located inside a brutal concrete tower, fortress-like, and guarding the treasures of Peru’s history. The museum is almost perfumed with the clay pottery and knotted ropes of the country’s past. Chavín stone carvings create deep faces on rocks and boulders, lines creasing around mouths, beneath formidable cheekbones. Knotted quipus, colorful ropes used for recording data, shine beneath the museum lights. The largest treasure of the museum is the Yuyanapaq, an exhibit named after the Quechua word for ‘to remember.’ The white walls and pristine tiled floor of the exhibition give a contrasting glow to the ambiance. The gallery is filled with photos of remembrance, a moving display and tribute of the internal conflict surrounding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the early 2000s. The culture of Peru, from the ancient to the modern, fills the museum and the countryside, ready to be experienced.
Nazca – Mysteries and Positive Wonders
Rise early in the morning to the sun glistening off of the sea. The cool marine layer dissipates early, the sound of the waves rushes against the sand. You can feel the mist touch your cheeks. The city rises with you, the bustle of crowds going to work, playing soccer along the beach, and cruising the rush of the surf. Today you will make your way out of the city’s sprawl and wonder, venturing along the coast where the hot, bright sand shifts to vibrant, red clay along the stretch of water. The ocean recedes from view as the desert wraps around you and you enter the small, arid town of Nazca.
Arrive in Nazca and board a sightseeing plane that will take you over the arid plains of the desert to witness the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines. The pre-Columbian civilization carved hundreds of razor-straight lines into the sun-baked earth of the desert. From the ground, the lines would be practically invisible, indistinguishable from the sweeping scorched plain. From the air, as you glide through the open sky, you look onto earth and notice the bright color of the lines, compared to the tanned stretch bordering the images. You can make out each drawing along the ground, from a monkey to a hummingbird take up vast spaces in the open desert. You pass over a perfectly symmetrical spider and can only imagine how the images were created, and the mystery of their purpose continues to generate theory and debate. The wonders of ancient cultures shine along the open ground of Peru.
Lima – Whitewater and Colorful Beaches
Depart from the sands of the desert. You can hear the familiar and welcome sounds of waves in the distance as the sandy horizon gives way to opulent blue. Along the water you will board a boat to Ballestas Islands. The cool mist of the water is a welcome change from the hot arid desert air. The rush of wind blows against your cheeks with the sweet scent of ocean surrounding you. You can see the expansive wingspan of pelicans as they soar along the boat. Look back along the shoreline and see the impressive geoglyph of a candelabrum etched into the hills.
The illustration looks over the beach and the water, an early reminder of the wonders of Nazca and the mysterious reach of the wonderment. The waves fade into the distance and are replaced with the gruff bark of sea lions. The boat comes alive with excitement as you look along the islands to witness the sunbathing sea lions, their bodies slick from an early swim, stretched out along the sand. Some roll along the shore while others frolic along the waterline, splashing at the gentle lull.
You can see tiny caves littering the islands and look out over the holy limestone in search of a buried treasure within the secluded earth. In confines of caves, you spot Humboldt penguins. They waddle along the craggy surface. Their white and black feathers are vibrant against the blue of the water. Upon your return to the shore you will venture along the coastline, hearing the bark of sea lions fade away as you travel back to Lima. The city lights illuminate the sky like simulated moonlight, glowing along the history of the Plaza de Armas. The lighthouse shines on the ocean, and you discovered that the wonders of Peru are not just in its uncovered history but can be found also in its glorious wildlife.
Cusco – Like an Outdoor Museum
Today you will depart from the diverse cultural neighborhoods of Lima and arrive in Cusco, the Inca capital set 10,750 feet above sea level. The city rests between the undulating hills of the vast Andes Mountain Range. Cusco is permeated with modern culture set against the backdrop of a colonial past. The large clover shaped fountain trickles in the center of the Plaza de Armas. Local women are dressed in modern designer jeans and blouses, while you can also see women of the Andes strolling along the cobblestone giving water to their pet llama, the clopping of the llamas hooves echoing down the street. Spanish colonial buildings stand on top of Inca foundations. The tangy scent of pisco, the traditional Peruvian spirit, drifts from cafes. Settle into the afternoon and explore the various wonders of the city.
The boulders of Sacsayhuaman, an Inca fortress, watch over the city from atop a hill. The monoliths rise into the sky as you look at their magnificent and intimidating presence from below. The stones were cut and pressed together like puzzle pieces allowing the walls to stand together for centuries without the use of mortar. The forest surrounds the fortress and emanates a pleasant earthy aroma around the impressive walls. Deeper within the stronghold you can climb along the large tiers created with smaller stones, and venture through large trapezoidal archways, the awkward shape again allowing for structural integrity without the need of a binder. The fortress acts as the head of the all-important Puma, while the city below represents the body of the animal. Some boulders rise over 30 feet and as you press your hand to the stone to feel its strength and grandeur, you can only imagine the effort and tenacity it took to create such a magnificent structure. The wind blows against the sloping foothills. The magnificent fortress stands tall and proud over the city, and the wonders of another culture begin to be revealed.
Aguas Calientes – When History Becomes Legend
The cobblestone streets blend into the paved roads of the outer city. The homes that rise along the foothills begin to fade behind the lush green plains and open air. Arrive at the train station in Ollantaytambo. You can see the impressive ruins of the Inca rising along the mountainside, standing tall over the city below, similar to the fortress of Cusco but somehow astoundingly different. Board the train and relax in the plush comfort as the car becomes aromatic with rich coffee and sweet pastries. The glass dome of the car gives you an unparalleled view of the valley as you wind your way through the countryside. The undulating peaks reach the sky and the whitewater of the Urubamba River mists the windows. The lavish jungle drifts along the windows taking over the mountaintops with added color and vibrancy. Arrive at the station of Aguas Calientes and stand within reach of the Lost City of Machu Picchu.
Ascend the stone staircase that winds along the mountainside. The craggy structure is cool on your hands as you guide yourself along. You can feel your heartbeat quicken, not from the climb but from the anticipation. Each step brings you closer to this Wonder of the World. The staircase ends and opens onto a terrace. The Lost City of Machu Picchu rises. The stone city climbs along the mountaintop and watches over the valley below. Large terraces sweep along the mountainside giving a sensational green to the rough slopes. Ascend the central staircase and witness the remaining buildings below looking like a labyrinth. Along the heights of the city you can see Intihuatana, commonly referred to as a Sun Dial, but is more accurately a calendar. The carved rock pillar stands atop the hill and enabled Inca astronomers to predict the solstice. Wander through the temples, over the tiers, around the trails and experience the open-air museum, where history comes alive and the culture is absorbed.
Cusco – Standing Among Historical Majesty
Watch the sunrise over the lost city and enjoy the light glinting off of the stones like a halo. The morning clouds drift along the mountain peaks. The river never ceases to rush along the foothills. Warm your hands and insides with fresh and decadent Peruvian coffee before returning to the Lost City to scour the ruins once more. A deep shadow runs along the mountain, cast from the light drifting across the stones of surrounding buildings. Climb down the stairs to Condor Temple and watch the ruins rise above you as the scent of earth and stone surrounds you. The carving of the condor is less prevalent but still recognizable along the plateau floor.
This is your chance to experience the less traveled road within the beautiful remains of the Lost City. Whether that means climbing the impressive peak of Huayna Picchu or following the trail over the gorge to the Sun Gate, both give you a fabulous view of the city from a distance. But a remarkable venture into the city’s past and hidden culture means a visit to the Temple of the Moon. Follow the trail from the base of Huayna Picchu, but instead of traveling up the path, you veer into the stunningly carved caves hidden around the bend. The overhang of the mountain looks like a Martian crater with the rotating white and red of the rock. The temple is poised beneath it as you witness the throne carved from smooth and pearled stone. The majesty of Machu Picchu is enhanced by the mystery and wonders of the Temple of the Moon, and, as the rest of the Lost City, is ready to be explored.
Cusco – A Relic in Space and Time
The hills of Cusco become a fond memory as you ascend into the sky and make your way home. From the Nazca Lines to the lines that shaped Machu Picchu, you have traversed the wonders of Peru to see the fantastic beauty within its contained history, whispered mythology, vibrant nature, and famous ruins. The country’s history is riddled with beauty and pain, connection and loss, but you have witnessed the majesty and the wonders wrapped decadently in the proud culture of Peru.
- Witness the mythological fame of the Nazca Lines
- Wander in and around the Lost City of Machu Picchu and understand its magnificence
- Cruise along the Pacific Ocean and around the stunning Paracas Nature Reserve to mingle with Peru’s wildlife inhabitants
- See the extensive collection of pre-Columbian art at the Museo de la Nacíon
- Discover Cusco, where the past and present collide
- Experience the grandeur of Sacsayhuaman
- Explore the Inca capital and the remaining connections to its historic past
- Glide through the jungle by way of glass domed train
- Trek to Huayna Picchu, the Sun Gate and the Temple of the Moon
Peru vacations are full of history, and this 7-day excursion is meant for desert dwellers, mountain men, beach bodies, nature lovers, cultural enthusiasts, and myth seekers. Venture to the unexplained and impressive Nazca Lines that illustrate the Wonders of the World and onto desert plains. Watch playful sea lions bask in the sun. See remnants of cultures that predate the Inca and glisten beneath museum light. Walk along the famous steps of Machu Picchu and be swept away by the majesty of the hilltop city. This is Peru, where the modern world mixes with the collective decadent past and gives you the opportunity to submerse yourself in history.
Begin your indulgent historical wandering with your arrival in Lima. The capital city spreads along the expanse of flatlands until reaching foothills and the sea. The Museo de la Nacíon contains relics of Peruvian civilizations throughout history, including the Chavín stone carvings that glow beneath the museum lights. Travel into the desert and ascend into the sky. Spread across the arid earth lays a number of perfectly symmetrical drawings that range in size, carved deep enough into the ground to be visible from the air, and large enough to not be seen at eyelevel. Cruise into the Paracas Nature Reserve, out into the sapphire water of the Pacific to the Ballestas Islands. Blue footed boobies and pelicans glide through the air while Humboldt penguins soar through the water.
Arrive in Cusco where the Inca capital is filled with beautiful contradictions, from the opulent architecture and fabulous modernity, to the colorful connection to history, within its people and foundation. Journey into the Sacred Valley and board a stunning train that will take you to Machu Picchu, bringing you along the valley floor, through dense jungle, and onto the foothills of the Lost City. Scale the stone stairs of the hillside and watch as the walls open up and Machu Picchu stands grandly before you, climbing up and atop the mountain. Return to Cusco with the history of the country still shining in your eyes before you depart for home. The country’s history is riddled with beauty and pain, connection and loss, but you will witness the majesty and the wonders wrapped decadently in the proud culture of Peru.
$1,535 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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