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Top Trip Memories

  • Diving into the world’s deepest canyons, Cotahuasi and Colca, to explore remote villages, hike canyon cliff sides, and come face to face with the pride of Peru: the Andean Condor.
  • Trekking across the Andean spine on the legendary Inca trail to one of the world’s archaeological highlights: the citadel of Machu Picchu.
  • Painting the town red amidst the fabulous nightlife of Peru, in vibrant and colorful Lima, or with the cultural fanfare and energy of Cusco.
  • Catching the original surf waves in Huancayo, where you can taste just caught seafood in ocean-side restaurants, lap up its ancient surf beach, or appreciate the handcrafted traditional fishing boats still in use today.
  • Delving into the world’s largest rainforest and encountering the amazing Amazon, with its wild caimans, pink dolphins, diverse birdlife, and howling monkeys.
  • Relaxing in the beautiful and mystical Sacred Valley: home of terraced mountainsides, ancient hilltop temples, Incan relics, and quiet, quaint villages.
  • Flying high over the Nazca lines, an enigmatic and mysterious series of gigantic petroglyphs grafted in the remote Peruvian desert.
  • Floating on Puno’s famous artificial reed islands, home to an ancient community that calls Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest lake of its size, its home.
  • Taking in the beautiful colonial charm of Peru’s “white city,” Arequipa, and its world-famous Santa Catalina convent, a city within a city.
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Tour Tips

  • For getting to Machu Picchu, you have many tour options: hike the challenging Inca Trail, hike one of the sometimes even more challenging Inca Trail alternatives, or take a delightful train ride with magnificent vistas in its own right.
  • If possible, don’t limit yourself to Machu Picchu. Look for tours that also visit archaeological sites in the northern reaches of Peru, including the massive adobe city of Chan Chan or the fascinating Mochica tombs in Chiclayo.
  • In the Amazon, make sure your travel supplier uses indigenous tour guides, who are best suited to show you the culture and experience of the world’s largest rainforest.
  • Bring altitude medicine and sunscreen. The city of Cusco and Lake Titicaca may be situated at the highest altitude you’ve ever encountered. Peru is also quite close to the Equator, where the sun’s rays can be powerful. Outside of Lima, sunblock can be hard to find.
  • Pack clothes for many occasions. When it’s winter in North America, it’s summer in Peru. Bring a swimsuit for the immaculate beaches, bring a jacket for the high Andean peaks, and bring clothes you don’t mind getting dirty for your Amazonian treks.
  • Practice a little Spanish before arriving in Peru. Although most tourist destinations are staffed with English-speakers, and your guide certainly will, knowing some basics will help you interact with Peruvians you meet in your travels.

Once you’re there…

  • Always carry toilet paper and soap. Peru is an adventure, and although your hotel will always be well stocked, you can’t rely on destination bathrooms to have sufficient
  • Remember that hot water is a luxury in Peru. Don’t be surprised if you see light switches in your bathroom to provide you with a warm shower after a long day of sightseeing.
  • Prices are often negotiated in Peru so don’t be afraid to push for a better price or ask your guide about fair prices during your journey.

 

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Peru Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5

99%

recommend

1,475 Reviews

  • Excellent 1,082
  • Great 357
  • Average 30
  • Disappointing 5
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

Great experience

Enchanting Peru

5.0
January 2017
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
The guides were all excellent and very friendly, funny. I just wish we could have spent longer at Peru.

Enchanted Peru

Enchanting Peru

5.0
December 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
We just returned from our Tour in Peru, unfortunately it was riddled with strikes by the Transportation Department. HOWEVER!!! we must say that Smartours went beyond what was normal. We were treated like Royalty, additional nights at the hotel, flight upgrades. We were able to see everything we came for. Some other Tour Groups we shared our hotel with were not that lucky and they ended up stranded. Also I like to say that our Tour Guide in Peru (Enrique) was funny, very knowledgeable and just overall a super nice person, we never felt like that we were a burden or "just a job". Too bad he wasn't able to come to Lima, we really missed him there. Overall our group was amazing and fun, we had a wonderful time. This was one of our many trips with Smartours and I am looking to see where we will go next. Thank you for all your effort. I will email some pictures ;-)
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The trail itself was amazing, in addition to that our tour guides Alexandro and OD made it unforgettable.

The Inca Trail

4.0
December 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: No
One of the most challenging but most amazing experiences of my life. The Inca trail by the G adventures team allowed me to focus on overcoming my fears of heights and enjoy the thrill, by being there with me every step of the way. Our guides Alexandro and OD were truly amazing and the porters who made our trip beyond comfortable were the true heroes! Thank you for making a trip of a lifetime simply wonderful.

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Trip is well organised and is a great way to see a lot of the region in a short timeframe

Southern Divide

5.0
December 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: No
Amazing trip that covered off the key highlights of the region within a short timeframe. Loved the experience and would recommend to all.

Peru trip was great

Enchanting Peru

5.0
November 2016
SmarTours
Recommend: Yes
This was our second guided vacation with Smart Tours. Outstanding trip and memorable due to the main guide, Enrique Virto. Rosario Rojas who we spent two days with was also excellent. Enrique's knowledge and passion for explaining the art, history and culture of the country were evident to everyone on the trip. Many of the other members of the group commented that Enrique was the one of the best guides they ever had in their world travels. I hope your company continues to hire Enrique as he is a real asset to Smart Tours.
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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Classic Itineraries

Quick Highlights of Peru in 1 Week

If you have one week to spend in Peru, the must- see sights are found in Machu Picchu, Lima, and Cusco. Consider the following itinerary:

Day 1-2, Lima: See Lima's Historic Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral of Plaza de Armas, and the Church of San Francisco. You will also have some free time to wander as you please through the city.

Day 3, Sacred Valley: Fly over to Cuzco and take a guided walk through Sacred Valley, which was the former center of the Inca Empire

Day 4, Ollantaytambo: Visit the ruins of the famous Inca stronghold

Day 5-6, Cusco/Machu Picchu: Tour Cusco, the imperial city of the Incas during their reign, and explore Machu Picchu by foot. Walk to the Gate of of the Sun for a stunning view of the valley below.

Optional, Lake Titicaca: Visit one of South America’s largest lakes and birthplace of the Incas.

Day 7-8, Lima: Take a flight back to Lima. Enjoy free time on the last day of your tour.

Trips that follow this itinerary:

Delights of Peru with Machu Travel Peru - 7 Days, luxury trip

Highlights of Peru with Trafalgar - 8 Days, premium trip

Classic Peru with Intrepid - 9 Days, value trip

Or see All Peru in One Week Tours

Highlights of Peru in 2 Weeks

For two weeks in Peru, in addition to Machu Picchu, Lima, and Cusco, you can fit in Lake Titicaca, the Colonial era city of Arequipa, and see the Nazca Lines. Consider the following itinerary:

Day 1, Lima: Arrive

Day 2, Paracas: Drive south of Lima and spend a day in the beach resort town of Paracas

Day 3, Nazca Lines: Head over to Nazca to see the 2nd Century B.C. architectural wonders of the Nazca Lines (gigantic drawings carved into the sand).

Day 4 -5, Arequipa: See the volcanoes of Arequipa and join a walking tour of the Santa Catalina Convent.

Day 6-7, Lake Titicaca: Board a boat that takes you along beautiful Lake Titicaca, surrounded by Peru, Bolivia, and the Andes.

Day 8-9, Cusco: See Plaza de Armas and the Inca site of Sacsayhuaman. Take optional trips outside of Cusco and see the Sacred valley of the Incas, and Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca Fortress with large stone terraces.

Day 10-11, Train to Aguas Calientes to tour Machu Picchu: See the lost city of the Incas and walk up to the Sun Gate for a breathtaking view of the valley.

Day 12-14: Join a city tour of Lima or have free time to wander the city. Be sure to visit the Larco Herrera museum.

Trips that follow this itinerary:

Peru Encompassed with Explore! - 13 Days, premium trip

Majestic Peru with Intrepid - 15 Days, premium trip

Essential Peru with Exodus - 15 Days, value trip

Or see All Peru in Two Weeks Trips

3 Weeks - Best of Peru and Beyond

A three week trip in Peru can span beyond Machu Picchu, Lima, and Cusco to the neighboring countries of Bolivia and south towards Chile. Consider the following itinerary:

Day 1-2, Lima: Tour the city of Lima, visit the San Francisco Monastery, see the Larco Herrera Museum, or visit the Gold Museum (South America’s best collection of historical costumes and weaponry).

Day 3-4, Cusco: Visit the Plaza de Armas, Coca Museum, and the local San Pedro market. Be sure to take some time to acclimatize to the altitude!

Day 5, Ollantaytambo: See the Sacred Valley and explore the area by foot.

Day 6-9, Aguas Calientes: Travel by Train to Machu Picchu. Walk up to the Sun Gate, and see Huayna Picchu “Young Mountain” which towers above the ruins.

Day 10-13, Take a flight to La Paz, Bolivia: See the Museo de Oro, archaeological site of Tiwanaku, and the Puerte del Sol (the most famous structure in Tiwanaku. Also be sure to check out the Mercado de Hechiceria or Witches' Market

Day 14-15, Lake Titicaca: Board a boat that takes you along beautiful Lake Titicaca, surrounded by Peru, Bolivia, and the Andes.

Day 16-18, Santiago, Chile: Join a guided tour of the capital of Chile to see museums, parks and visit the vibrant neighbourhood of Bellavista with its handicrafts, trendy cafés. Climb up San Cristobal Hill to enjoy its views of the city.

Day 19-20, Atacama Desert or Mendoza: Depending on which trip you choose, you can explore the Atacama Desert, a desert Oasis, or Mendoza known for its wineries and signature Malbecs.

Day 21, Head back to Lima (or your starting city)

Trips that follow this itinerary:

Essence of South America with Peregrine Adventures - 21 Days, value trip

Southern Divide with G Adventures - 21 Days, value trip

Andean Express with Tucan Travel - 25 Days, value trip

Or see All Three Week Trips to Peru

Peru Trips & Tour Advice

Peru is probably best known for Machu Picchu, a major destination for multi-day trekking tours. But Peru is also home to the Amazon Basin, historical Spanish colonial-era cities, the boisterous capital Lima, and a share of 12,500-foot-high Lake Titicaca, with its host of artificial islands and bird life. Many travelers also combine trips to Peru with a visit to the Galapagos. 

Peru: The name conjures up images of majestic natural wonders, deep canyons, Amazonian wildlife, superlative lakes, sacred valleys, and, of course, the Lost City of the Incas.

This is all for good reason -- Peru provides a little bit of everything, especially for the adventurous traveler. Few destinations captivate like Peru or offer such a diverse array of experiences packed into such a small country.

World-renowned Archaeological Treasures

Peru is home to one of the world’s most famous ruins: Machu Picchu. Nestled high in the Andean mountains, this nearly impenetrable site, a relic of a bygone Incan Empire, is sure to captivate you. As you walk the sacred steps up to the former citadel, hanging on a dramatic cliff side, you’ll take in mountain vistas of rivers, waterfalls, and the ruins themselves for a memory you’ll cherish for life.  

Whether you climb the mighty Andean spine across the legendary Inca trail or sit in luxury aboard a classic train traversing the Sacred Valley, getting to Machu Picchu is half the experience. Traveling from the vibrant city of Cusco, a destination in its own right, to Machu Picchu you will find captivating Incan sites, quaint towns, archaeological gems, and natural wonders.  

The Incans were not the only ones who established a foothold on these sacred lands. Go down from the mountains to the desert beaches to discover enigmatic pre-Incan civilizations. Encounter the beautiful tombs of the Moche civilization in Chiclayo, fly over the Nazca lines and ponder their mystery, or explore the UNESCO-listed Chan Chan –the former capital of the Chimu empire and the largest adobe city in the world.

Diverse natural beauty

Though Peru is a small and navigable country, it boasts more biodiversity than the entire North American continent. Peru is the perfect base for the world’s most impressive rainforest: the mighty Amazon. Among many lodging options are eco-lodges nestled deep in the jungle, providing opportunities to encounter colorful toucans, howler monkeys, pink river dolphins, and perhaps even an elusive jaguar.

Beyond the Amazon, you can tour Manu National Park and the unique moss-covered Peruvian Yunga region, home to some of the world’s best birding. Afterwards, you can head toward the northern beaches to park a tent in beautiful sun-splashed Punta Sal or catch a wave at Huancayo, the world’s very first surfing beach

More Adventures

You can also journey up to the legendary lake on top of the world: Lake Titicaca. Tour Puno’s intriguing floating artificial islands or stay in a freshwater island resort, a breathtaking high-altitude retreat complete with superlative sunsets.

For those who prefer more vigorous outdoors adventure, Peru also offers the unique Colca Canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon is replete with Incan terraces and natural beauty. For incredible photo ops, go to Cruz del Condor, a peak where flocks of the normally reclusive Andean condor swarm at sunrise.

Cultural Discoveries

Immersing yourself in Peru also means discovering its vibrant cities. Lima, Peru’s capital, offers fascinating museums and “peñas,” lively traditional dance halls that hold weekly Peruvian dance shows. The local cuisine in Peru is generally excellent: Peru has been named the World's Leading Culinary Destination for 2012-14 by the World Travel Awards, combining elements from the coast (seafood), Andean (pre-Hispanic dishes), Amazonian (palm hearts and other exotic foods), and Spanish colonial influences. Adventurous eaters may even try a plate of Cuy, a Peruvian national dish centered around roasted Guinea pig.

For a different urban experience, a tour of Peru could include the magnificent white city of Arequipa and its Spanish colonial treasures. Arequipa is an architectural wonder, famous for its intact 16th century churches, and home to Monesterio de Santa Catalina, a “city within a city,” whose pastel walls and priceless frescoes make it one of the most beautiful convents in the world.

Festivals and Processions

In Peru, culture is never far off. Every weekend, towns across the country have celebrations and festivals where you can watch somber religious processions followed by raucous folk marching bands.

But while Peru offers a dizzying array of options, Stride is here to guide you toward the best guided group tours to experience Peru’s dynamic sights, sounds, and flavors. Isn’t it time you said “Hola!” to Peru? 

Related Guides

Continent:             

South America

Local Attraction:  

Machu Picchu, Plaza de Armas, Uros Islands, Iquitos, Huacachina, Mancora and Many More

Top Activities:      

Exploring Culture, Ruins & Archaeology, Nature Sightseeing, Hiking, Train Tour & Boat Tour

Similar Destinations:                    

EcuadorBrazilChile

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