Witness the largest land-living bird, the Andean Condor, on this fantastic 10-day Peru itinerary that combines Cusco, a Machu Picchu tour, Lima and the beautiful Sacred Valley …
Day 1 – Lima
The first day of your Colca Canyon, Cuzco & Machu Picchu Tour starts with your arrival at Lima airport, where we will transfer you to your chosen hotel in the Miraflores area of the city.
For some you might be staying at the Casa Andina Classic, Faraona, Allpa Hotel or similar. For luxury travelers it could be the five-star Miraflores Park Hotel, the superb Casa Andina Private Collection or the Doubletree Pardo Hotel (subject to space of course).
Enjoy the rest of the day as free time to wander the parks, browse the shops, and enjoy the world renowned Peruvian food.
Day 2 – Lima City Tour
Today, you will be collected from your hotel for a full or half-day tour of Colonial and modern Lima. Visits include to Lima Cathedral and the Church & Convent of San Francisco – with its spooky catacombs – among other places of interest.
After lunch, which we can arrange for you, if you wish, you could visit a museum of your choice, such as the excellent Larco Herrera, the Gold Museum or the National Museum.
You could continue with an early evening visit to the spectacular Fountain Park near the center of Lima. The day can be as full as you want. There is much to see in Peru’s dynamic and historic capital city and we can custom design everything to your wishes.
After a day of sightseeing, you may be worn out; so, we recommend recovering at a dinner / show at one of our favorite restaurants, where you will hear traditional music and see dances from all over Peru.
Have a look at our Peru Restaurant Guide for further dining options.
Day 3 – Fly to Cuzco, Cuzco City Tour
Upon arrival in Cuzco, we will meet you and transfer you to you chosen hotel.
For some travelers this could be the Casa San Blas, Midori, Casa Andina or similar hotels; and for luxury travelers the fabulous Monasterio Hotel, Aranwa, or the Casa Cartagena Hotel, all subject to space of course.
Later in the day, you will enjoy a Cuzco City Tour, visiting the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, plus three smaller Inca ruins close to Cusco; Cusco Cathedral in the main square; and the most important temple of the Inca Empire, Coricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun.
Cusco is a lovely city to wander around, and you should take time to do this when not being guided.
Day 4 – The Sacred Valley of the Incas
After pick-up from your hotel today, you will enjoy a full-day Sacred Valley tour. We visit the Inca ruins of Pisac (if on a private tour), the market at Pisac (on all tours), a great place to buy souvenirs, and then drive through the Valley to the lovely Inca site and village at Ollantaytambo.
You will have an English-speaking guide all day and a great buffet lunch included in the sunny valley.
You will then spend the night down in the Sacred Valley to take advantage of a change of scene, more oxygen (as you are 800 meters lower than Cusco), and a shorter journey tomorrow on the train to Machu Picchu.
We recommend the Casa Andina Private Collection, the Aranwa and the Sol y Luna as our favorite three higher-end hotels; but there are many more that we use, in all price ranges, such as El Albergue or El Sauce.
Day 5 – Machu Picchu Tour
Today, you may have an early start to catch your chosen train to Machu Picchu. This will be one of the services described in the link below. The advantage you have is that you have stayed in the Sacred Valley overnight and therefore do not have to get up as early as you would in Cuzco to catch the train.
A transfer will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the station. Or if you are staying in one of the hotels really close to the station, you can walk there.
After being met in Aguas Calientes by your guide, you could drop off your overnight bag at your hotel, before taking the bus transfer to the Machu Picchu. Here you enjoy a private tour with a local, English-speaking guide.
After the guided Machu Picchu tour, you have the rest of the day as free time to enjoy this incredible site.
In the late afternoon, you will return to your chosen hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town that nestles in the valley below Machu Picchu.
Note: The option exists to return to Cuzco the same day, but if you have the time, it is well worth staying over the see this incredible place the next day.
For mid-range travelers, we recommend the Inti Inn, Presidente Hotel or similar.
For luxury travelers, we highly recommend the Pueblo or Sumaq Hotel, both down in the village of Aguas Calientes.
If you prefer to stay right at the gate of Machu Picchu, and your budget will stand it, you could choose the Sanctuary Lodge, as its location cannot be beaten.
Day 6 – Machu Picchu for a second time
Today you will be able to re-visit Machu Picchu and enjoy this fabulous site at your leisure. You may choose to climb Huayna Picchu, the peak that overlooks Machu Picchu (400 people per day and by prior appointment only), which affords fantastic views and photo opportunities.
In the late afternoon, you will board the train for your trip back to Cuzco.
You will leave the train at Poroy (or maybe Ollataytambo), the last station before Cuzco, for a faster and more convenient transfer by road back to your hotel in Cuzco.
Day 7 – Cusco and Arequipa
Enjoy a free morning in Cuzco at your leisure, if the schedule permits. Your tour includes the “Cuzco Tourist Ticket” which allows you entry to the many museums, art galleries and Inca sites in and around Cuzco.
At some point during the day we will fly you to Arequipa, ringed by volcanoes and snow-capped mountains.
Upon arrival in Arequipa, we will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. For three or four-star travelers, we recommend the Sonesta Posada, the Casa Andina Classic or similar. For luxury clients, we suggest the absolutely beautiful Casa Andina Private Collection, located in the lovingly-restored, 400-year-old “Mint” building; or the excellent Libertador Hotel, with its lovely gardens.
All hotels are subject to space at time of booking. If you have a preference, please let us know and we can book it for you.
Day 8 – Colca Canyon Tour
Today, you will start your two-night tour to the Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. At 10,729 feet, it is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA.
The journey to get to the Colca Valley takes several hours over the altiplano. Vicuñas, Llamas and huge volcanoes are visible the whole way, before we descend into the Colca Valley and arrive at the capital of the Colca Canyon region, Chivay.
Your accommodation could be at the lovely Colca Lodge, in its exclusive location, with its own hot springs within the hotel grounds; Mamayachi, in the lovely village of Corporaque; or at the Casa Andina in Chivay itself, with its own observatory. Colca Lodge is a particularly good choice as you can really relax in the fabulous surroundings of the Canyon.
Regardless of where you stay you will enjoy the scenery and be able to bathe in hot springs.
Day 9 – Condor spotting in the Colca Canyon
You have an early morning start to visit the Cruz del Condor, the best place to see these magnificent birds. With wingspans of up to 15 feet, they are the largest land-living bird in the world.
At times there can be 10 to 15 birds flying close to you at one time. It is a spectacular experience you will never forget.
In the afternoon, there are other activities, such as trekking or visiting local villages or bathing in the hot springs. Your local guide will be able to advise you on these.
Then you spend another night in this lovely, isolated place.
Day 10 – Arequipa to Lima
In the morning you will travel back to Arequipa and then either spend another night, or you fly out to Lima the same afternoon.
There are many options so just talk to us. We could add on days for you to visit the Ballestas Islands and the Nazca Lines, for example.