The Best of Peru

  • 4 Weeks

If you’re set on getting a taste of everything, this whirlwind tour hits Peru’s top must-see attractions. Give yourself a full month to fully take it all in.

Conquer your jet lag by becoming acquainted with the exquisite tastes of Peru in the restaurants of Lima, strolling parks and museums between meals. Head south through the coastal desert for a flyover of the Nazca Lines before arriving in stylish, cosmopolitan Arequipa, with its mysterious monasteries, deep canyons and smoking volcanoes.

Fly high into the Andes to reach the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco for a few days of acclimatization, exploring the cobblestone city and visiting Sacred Valley villages to check out colorful markets selling textiles, talismans and dozens of types of tubers. Then board the train to Machu Picchu, the most visited archaeological site in South America.

From Cuzco, fly to Puerto Maldonado (or brave the 10-hour bus ride) where you can kick back at a wildlife lodge along one of the mighty rivers of the Amazon Basin. Alternatively, take an overland tour from Cuzco to the Manu area, with remote tracts of virgin forest holding diverse animals from kinkajous to caimans; it’s one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet. Another option for exploring the Amazonian selva (jungle) is to first fly back to Lima, then onward to Iquitos, a bustling port that will launch you deeper into the jungle.

Back in Lima, take a bus or fly north to the adventurers’ base camp of Huaraz, where a short trek will take you to the precipitous peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. A day trip to Chavín de Huántar will lead you to one of Peru’s oldest ancient sites. Rumble back down to the coast at Chimbote, then dash north to historic Trujillo, which offers spicy northern dishes, surrounded by a cornucopia of archaeological sites. These include the ruins of the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, Chan Chan, and the fascinating Huacas del Sol y de la Luna. Finish up the journey by taking a seaside break at the bustling surf town of Máncora.