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Lima to Cuzco

  • 17Day(s)
  • Trip Code: DRXLC1

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 Wild Andes Trail through the Urubamba Valley culminating in a visit to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. 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!

FROM POA

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Itinerary

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DAY 1 Lima

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

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.

DAY 2 Huacachina, Ballestas Islands, Paracas

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.

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 - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

DAY 3 Nazca, Huacachina

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.

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 - 3-4 hours.

DAY 4 Puerto Inca, Nazca

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.

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-equipped campsite on the beach. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

DAY 5 Arequipa

Today we will start our drive inland, and head uphill to the beautiful ‘White City’ of 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 - 7-9 hours.

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.

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

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.

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 - 4-5 hours.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 - 3-4 hours.

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.

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 Wild Andes and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days!

DAY 12 Sacred Valley, Inca Trail

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.

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. Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek 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). 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. Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner  Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek 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 lunch.  We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we will explore this impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.   There is no trekking today. Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package 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. Meals included: Lunch

DAY 13 Inca Trail

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Zurite to Amaruwatana 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. Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 13kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba 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). Approximate trekking time: 5-6hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package 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.

DAY 14 Inca Trail

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Amaruwatana to Ancascocha 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! 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! After lunch we will continue trekking downhill following the ancient trail, which leads us to our campsite in the Ancascocha area. Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 10kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Option 2 - Classic Trek Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo 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. Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 11kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package 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.

DAY 15 Inca Trail

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo 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. 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. 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. Approximate trekking time: 5hrs, Distance: 12kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek Pacaymayo to Wiñay Wayna 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. Approximate walking time: 8hrs, Distance: 16kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package 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.

DAY 16 Machu Picchu, Cuzco

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek

Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Cuzco 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.  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! Meals provided: Breakfast Option 2 - Classic Trek Wiñay Wayna to Machupicchu 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. Approximate walking time: 2hrs, Distance: 4kms, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package 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. 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. Meals provided: Breakfast

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).

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.

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  • TRIP NAME: LIMA TO CUZCO
  • DURATION: 17 DAYS
  • FROM PRICE: POA
  • TRIP CODE: DRXLC1
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  • Peru

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  • Trip Style: Overland Adventures
  • Comfort Level: Basic

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30% Camping – 70% Hotels

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