If you want to see the best of Peru in a short time frame, this itinerary takes in all the highlights between Lima and Cuzco and the Inca Trails to the ruins of Machu Picchu. This includes the Ballestas Islands, the Huacachina Desert, the Nazca Lines, the Colca Canyon, Arequipa and, of course, Cuzco itself. We also get you off the beaten track by trekking along on our exhilarating Wild Andes Trail through the remote Andes above the Urubamba Valley. We cap off your trek with a visit to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. You will see few people on this unique alternative to the Classic Inca trail, which is your other option if you prefer. We will also get you into the local community and have a great Andean homestay with our Quechuan Indian hosts to learn about their culture.
<p><strong>Border information:</strong> if joining in Lima, you will most likely enter Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport (IATA code: LIM).<p>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.</p><p>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.</p></p>
Meals: ,No Meals,
Location: Paracas, Huacachina
<p>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.<p>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.</p></p>
<p>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.<p>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.</p></p>
Meals: ,No Meals,
Location: Puerto Inca
<p>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.<p>In the afternoon we will continue our drive to the coastal resort of Puerto Inca.</p></p>
<p>Today we will start our drive inland, and head uphill to the beautiful 'White City' of Arequipa.</p>
<p>Today we will have a free day to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or for some optional activities in and around the city.</p>
<p>We will have some more free time to explore Arequipa this morning, before continuing our drive to the highland town of Chivay after lunch.</p>
<p>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.</p><p>We will have a free afternoon to explore Chivay, and possibly take an optional trip to the nearby hot springs.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.<p>In the afternoon we will drive to the incredible historical city of Cuzco, the former Inca capital. </p></p>
<p>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.</p><p>There will be an important meeting this evening for our Wild Andes and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!</p>
<p>These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek, on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package.</p><p><strong>Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek</strong></p><p>Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, a small Quechua-speaking village in the Sacred Valley. Here we will see a traditional weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years, and explore their beautiful archaeological ruins. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon).</p><p>We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, heading by foot to Zurite where we have a picturesque stay in a colonial house. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional dinner and get a taste of the local village lifestyle.</p><p>Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner </p><p><strong>Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek</strong></p><p>This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have an included lunch. We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we have free time to explore the impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel. </p><p>Please note that we have the evening to ourselves in Ollantaytambo, our Guide will meet us in the morning.</p><p>No Meals are included in Ollantaytambo.</p><p>There is no trekking today. </p><p><strong>Option 3 - Train Package</strong></p><p>You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, followed by a beautiful scenic drive over mountains and through valleys, via the ancient city of Pisac and on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch you will head back to Cuzco where you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights.</p><p>Meals included: Lunch</p>
<p><strong>Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Zurite to Amaruwatana</strong></p><p>After a hearty breakfast we leave Zurite and head towards Amaruwatana camp. The walk will take us through Qenteqentiyoc (the Hummingbird Temple), where we will visit and admire this Inca archaeological site. We will then follow the ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,400m, where we will have a dramatic view of both the Vilcabamba and Vilcanota mountain ranges. From here we start walking down on the way to our first camp in the Sambor Valley where we will spend the night camping.</p><p>Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 13kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner</p><p><strong>Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba</strong></p><p>After breakfast, we catch a bus to Piscaycuscho and the start of the Classic Inca Trek - the railroad KM82 marker (at 2,700m altitude). Here we are joined by our crew of local porters and cooks. We will cross the bridge over the River Urubamba and following a trail along the left-hand shore of the river, enjoying stunning views of the snow-capped Mount Veronica (5,830m) and the Incan archaeological remains at Llactapata. Continuing through lush farmland and woodland, we gradually climb for approximately 5 hours to our first campsite at Wayllabamba (3,000m).</p><p>Approximate trekking time: 5-6hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks</p><p><strong>Option 3 - Train Package</strong></p><p>Today is a free day to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops, selling textiles and handicrafts.</p>
<p><strong>Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Amaruwatana to Ancascocha</strong></p><p>We have an early start this morning, trekking for approximately 2 hours to reach the top of our second pass at 4,700m. From here we have fantastic views of the rock formations below us, and if we're lucky we may spot Andean ibises, caracaras, eagles or foxes up here!</p><p>After descending for approximatley 2 hours, we arrive at a stunning highland valley with a glacial river named Kenqo Mayu (meaning "Zig-zag River") flowing down it - which makes an idyllic stop for lunch!</p><p>After lunch we will continue trekking downhill following the ancient trail, which leads us to our campsite in the Ancascocha area.</p><p>Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 10kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner</p><p><strong>Option 2 - Classic Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo</strong></p><p>This is the most challenging day of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approximately 4 hours) through Andean cloud forest and highland puna to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusca (meaning "Dead Woman's Pass") at a height of 4,200m. During our ascent, we can appreciate the wide variety of plant, flower and bird species supported by this unique eco-climate. On reaching the pass, our challenge is rewarded by an astonishing panoramic view of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges. From here we descend for 2 hours into the Pacaymayo Valley (3,650m altitude) and to our second campsite.</p><p>Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 11kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks</p><p><strong>Option 3 - Train Package</strong><br />Today is a free day for you to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops selling textiles and handicrafts.</p>
<p><strong>Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo</strong></p><p>Today we will descend the narrow Silque Canyon, allowing us to observe its tall granite walls which are populated by a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colours when they bloom. After crossing many little bridges we will reach the Camicancha area, where we stop at a magnificent volcanic viewpoint looking towards the snow-capped Mt. Veronica.</p><p>From here it is only a short trek to Chilca, where our trail ends. We'll be picked up by our vehicle and head to Ollantaytambo, taking a well-earned shower and rest at our hotel. </p><p>In the afternoon we will have an included guided tour around the incredible archaeological site of Ollantaytambo and its world-famous Temple of the Sun. </p><p>Please note that we have the evening to ourselves in Ollantaytambo, our Guide will meet us in the morning. No Meals are included in Ollantaytambo.</p><p>Approximate trekking time: 5hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch</p><p><strong>Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Pacaymayo to Wiñay Wayna</strong></p><p>Today we follow ancient stone paths and steps to ascend the well-preserved Inca remains of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, and Phuyupatamarca (the "Town above the Clouds") where we can appreciate the Incas’ complex architectural style and reverence of natural geography and beauty. Heading down the Andean slope, we reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna (meaning "Forever Young") ruins, with panoramic views of the valley below.</p><p>Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 16kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks</p><p><strong>Option 3 - Train Package</strong></p><p>After being picked up from your hotel in the morning you will be driven to the fortress city of Ollantaytambo and our hotel for the night, the Tunupa Lodge. Here you will rejoin the Wild Andes Trekkers and your tour leader who will be arriving from their trek this afternoon.</p>
<p><strong>Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Cuzco</strong></p><p>Today we will have an early start to catch the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we will take a bus up the winding mountainside to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu - one of the world's most iconic sights! We have a guided tour with our expert local guide and there will be plenty of free time to explore this magical place. </p><p>In the afternoon we will head back to Ollantaytambo and then on to Cuzco, where we return to our joining hotel at the end of a long but phenomenal day!</p><p>Meals provided: Breakfast</p><p><strong>Option 2 - Classic Trek</strong></p><p><strong>Wiñ</strong><strong>ay Wayna to Machupicchu</strong></p><p>Leaving Wiñay Wayna, we descend gradually further through the highland jungle to our destination - Intupunku (the "Sun Gate") leading into Machu Picchu. Arriving at daybreak, we catch our first breathtaking view of this historical wonder. As with the Wild Andes Trek, our local guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is also some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest.</p><p>Approximate walking time: 2hrs, Distance: 4kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks</p><p><strong>Option 3 - Train Package</strong></p><p>After an early breakfast and walk to the train station, your stunning 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes begins. The journey takes you through several different micro-climates, past Inca terraces, lookout posts, ancient river bank reinforcements and small towns. You will get a glimpse of different temples and the beautiful Mount Veronica (5,750m). Passing through 8 tunnels, the train journey finally comes to an end in the busy pueblo, Aguas Calientes. From here you take a local bus that winds up the mountainside for about 30 minutes until you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes, explaining the rich history of the ancient site. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own before returning down the mountain to Aguas Calientes.</p><p>In the afternoon you will catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco.</p><p>Meals provided: Breakfast</p>
<p><strong>Border information:</strong> if you are finishing in Cuzco, you will most likely exit Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ).<p>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 your sales agent if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities available.</p></p>
The truck did the job perfectly.
Very nice and enthusiastic local guides. They make the activities really good.
All of our guides on the Inca Trail were friendly, informative and clearly had a passion for their country and all that it offers.
Excellent! Helpful, approachable, and fun leaders.
Both were great and got fully involved, organising and attending group meals even when nothing official was arranged. 4 people had birthdays and they made sure they were spoiled!
Amazing crew, always positive and a good sense of humor.
Both drivers were lovely. Can't fault either of them.
Julie took great care of the truck Gus, felt absolutely safe at all times.
Great experience, our guide (Julie) rocks!
Both the crew were very good.
Jimmy from the Community trek stands out a mile for his knowledge and compassion for Andes and its people. He also had the ability to motivate and work with all age groups on the trek.
Everybody was happy.
Rachel and Jaime were great!
Julie, our tour leader, was very good. She was attentive, helpful, responsible and always in a good mood.
We got several local guides for different parts of the trip. In general they were all quite good, especially the first guide for the trekking & Machu Picchu.
Rachel was amazing!
All the guides were generally good with different style of delivery which made the tours more interesting and fun. In particular and one who far exceeded all guides was Yamil our Inca Trek guide. He displayed excellent leadership skills, was informative throughout keeping us up to date at all times. This also included his partner Smithy, who was also excellent. I was particularly slow amongst the group and the pace the two guides set ensuring we worked as a team ensured that we maintains the team work even when they left the group. Both guides displayed excellent leadership qualities.
Tom, Bob and See were great. They managed to balance the group between having loads of fun while remaining professional. At all times they were approachable and other was obvious that they enjoyed and were interested in the local culture as well as us.
Our truck Rosita was fantastic, she was comfortable and very well organised. The tents were awesome, we want to buy one for home. Cooking equipment had everything we needed and was all organised perfectly so it was always easy to find what you were looking for.
I loved the truck, a real adventure!
It was good having Smithy as a local Peruvian on board - he was a good local guide. The other local guides, especially the Inca trek crew, we had were very good also.
We had Yamil and Smithy on the Community Trail who were super. Their passion and knowledge really make a difference!
Most guides were excellent. Jamil on the Inca Trail was outstanding.
Nick and Juan were an amazing team. Excellent drivers, very helpful and professional. But also part of the group and in for lots of fun.
Both the leader and co-driver were great, organised and very helpful.
Local guides were all good - no problems.
The trip was incredibly enjoyable. I was able to do some very incredible things that would have been very difficult to achieve without Dragoman.
Overall I was very satisfied! Great people and with the leader Lynsey I felt myself safe and secure even though she is still young.
The local guides were beyond incredible.they provided a very unique journey. Special shoutouts to Louie in the Colca Canyon and Jessica in Raqchi.
All the local guides were very informative, friendly and enthusiastic.
The guide at Chauchilla cemetery was very good. The Colca Canyon guide was also very good and had a great sense of humour!
Very good guides.
The crew were enthusiastic, social, fun and knew when to call it a night for driving the next day.
Very good at accommodating the needs of the group. Showed great enthusiasm and genuine sympathy when passengers weren't feeling well.
Local guides were extremely knowledgeable.
We had a number of local guides and they were all very informative and knowledgeable.
The local guides were all funny and passionate about their job.
We were always well informed, from the day by day itinerary to the first briefing and also every city we would get a run down of what was happening. We were also given options which was great so the group could decide if we wanted an early or late departure if it was possible. Their driving was great and the themed music was hilarious.
It was a real adventure with a wonderful group of people... A time I'll never forget!
Tom and Richard and Smithy were a dreamteam and really good together!
Lynsey and Seb were fantastic - driving from both was safe and comfortable as much as physically possible giving the road conditions. I felt safe at all times.
Tom, Richard and Smithy were a good team who worked together well. Smithy was brilliant on the Inka Trail.
Smithy and Tom were a brilliant team
Smithy = legend.
Local guides were always friendly and informative
Local guides were all very good.
Smithy was perfect - great source of local information.
Cooks on the Inka Trail were fantastic.
Tom was great on the road, great craic, so helpful! He was interested in the locations we were in. He got on with the groups, as there were many on my tour, and he reacted well with some of the more challenging aspects of trying to lead a lot of different people with varying agendas & expectations. Bob was also great and ridiculously helpful. I had a great time with both Tom & Bob and would happily go on a tour with them again. Together they managed the balance of getting us to where we were supposed to be and doing their job and having the craic with us really well.
Raqchi was without a doubt one of my favourite parts of the tour, really well setup and felt like you were experiencing something new and fun, plus the family I stayed with were just so kind and generous. Smithy and Jamil did the Machu Picchu tour with us, and I couldn't compliment them highly enough. They made it look easy, & herding 16+ people with varying fitness levels up the side of a mountain is not easy, so I was just so impressed with them.
Tom was simply the best!
Smithy was the best. Very informative and knowledgeable about Peru.
10/10. Great crew I'd follow anywhere. Went way above what was required of them. Fantastic!
The Inca Trail guides were brilliant!
Guides on Inca Community Trek were excellent.
Great experience, especially as a solo traveller.
Excellent team - felt very safe.
The Inca Trek guides were excellent.
Most of the local guides were good, in particular the team who did the Machu Picchu community trek.
Lynsey & Sinead were awsome, they provided us with information at every stop, interated with us in their spare time, and allways had a smile on their face :)
Smithy was professional informative and provided us with a lot of local knowledge.
The Inca Trail guides were excellent.
I found both Jaco and Noel to be exceptionally professional.
Rob was amazing, could not ask for better than him.
Most of the local guides we used were very good and knowledgable.
Our Inca Trail hike was excellent on all levels.
Perfect guide on the Inca Trail - Smithy gives us a lot of information about Peru.
All the local guides were excellent.
I found some of the travel days were too long
Apart from the normal highlights of Macchu Pichu and the Nazca lines; I really enjoyed the drive from Nazca to Porto Inca.
I had such a great time, thank you!
It was my second dragoman trip and again I thought it was amazing.
Fantastic trip, well organised and well led. Great locations and itinerary. Any problems were swiftly sorted out to everyone's satisfaction.
Brilliant trip, fantastic places visited, leaders were great and local guides were all knowledgeable. Did not have any problems with anything on the trip.
Your vehicle and crew were brilliant thanks.
I truly enjoyed the trekking experience (Wild Andes trek), scenery, logistics, guides and organization have been excelllent.
It was an amazing experience my first time overloading and I really enjoyed how easy the truck made travelling.
Loved every second! The Andes Trek was a really great experience.
Enjoyed most camping in the desert and the Andean trek.
Enjoyed most staying with a family in Raqchi, Huacachina and Arequipa.
Really full itinerary. Great tour leader.
Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.
Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.
These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!
Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.