Trip Inspiration

16 Days “Off the Beaten Track” in Peru

Beyond the Traditional Peruvian Journey

Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are on most travelers' "must do" lists when heading to Peru, but the country has so much more to explore! Let us offer you a new perspective on the country’s traditional sites and also introduce you to some of its newest hot spots and popular activities to immerse you in Peruvian life. Be inspired to go beyond the ordinary to discover the rich culture and exceptional beauty of Peru.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 1 overnight in Lima to prepare for your adventure
  • 1 night amid the stars at the incredible Skylodge
  • 1 night in the Sacred Valley at Sol y Luna
  • 3 nights camping on the Inca Trail
  • 1 night in Machu Picchu Pueblo
  • 1 night in historic Cusco
  • 2 nights aboard the Belmond Andean Explorer luxury train
  • 2 nights in the Colca Canyon
  • 1 night in Arequipa
  • 2 nights in Paracas

Activities

  • Privately guided touring in the Sacred Valley
  • Visits to local villages, markets historical sites
  • Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Exploration in Puno and Lake Titicaca aboard luxury train
  • Ride dune buggies and sand boards in the Huacachina Dunes
  • Fly over the mysterious Nazca lines
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Peru might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Lima, Peru

Welcome to beautiful Peru! Upon arrival in Lima, you will make your way to the Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel, located just outside of the airport doors. Rest up this evening and get ready for tomorrow’s flight to Cusco.

Wyndham Costa del Sol Meals: N/A

Day 2

Lima to the Sacred Valley

This morning you will catch a morning flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and driver for your private transfer to the Sacred Valley, with lunch and visits en route.

You will travel through a spectacular panorama of patchwork fields en route to the “Sacred Valley of the Incas.” The route includes picturesque Andean towns, agricultural terraces, and archaeological sites. The mild climate, the varied and dramatic scenery of snow-capped mountains, flowering meadows, lush green hills and spectacular flora and fauna, make the Valley a prime adventure destination in South America. At a lower elevation than Cusco, the Valley is a warm and comfortable environment to begin your exploration of the region.

Near the Pisac Citadel, you will arrive at Amaru, where your hosts, the locals from the Association of Traditional Laraypas Weavers of Amaru, will welcome you and explain their daily life, traditions, and the work that the Association does on behalf of the traditional culture. After a short briefing, you will begin the weaving workshop. Hike through a native forest and visit the association’s nursery, where you will choose the plants that you will use to dye your fibers. Along the way, you will discover the medicinal and culinary properties of some of these plants. After your walk, you will be shown the entire handmade weaving process, from shearing and hand-spinning the wool, dyeing the fibers and designing the patterns with warp and wefts, to weaving the final product using the traditional telar de cintura, or waist loom. Community artists or children from the school will share some local music with you as you work.

After your tour, you will head out to your next uniquely Peruvian adventure: an overnight at the Skylodge Adventure Suites. This is a stay you will boast about to your friends at home! Tonight’s accommodation will have you sleeping in a completely transparent “hanging bedroom” – 1,312 feet above the ground!

Each module has four beds, a dining area and private bathroom, and measures 24 ft. in length and 8 ft. in height and width. The dome also has curtains for privacy from the curious gaze of passing condors, who are your only sky neighbors. There are two ways to get to the Skylodge: by way of a hanging bridge, or, for more intrepid travelers, a series of zip lines will deliver you to your room. Choose your preference!

Your security is paramount at the Skylodge, and your stay will start with a safety briefing, where you will be fitted with the appropriate equipment. Ascend to your suite to enjoy a welcome drink before settling in to your room. Dinner will be served at 8:00pm and then the night is yours to enjoy the stars and views from your perch along the cliff.

Skylodge Adventure Suites Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3

Sacred Valley

Good morning from what may feel like the top of the world! Today ends your stay at the Skylodge Adventure Suites, but not before you descend via zip line back to solid ground! You will leave Skylodge full of incredible memories of this unique experience!

Transfer to the village of Chinchero, which was sacred to the Incas as the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Here, you start your bicycle tour of Moray and Maras, two of the Sacred Valley’s most fascinating destinations. Passing the lagoon of Huaypo you’ll arrive at the archaeological park of Moray. Enjoy the natural beauty while you marvel at the mysterious circular terraces which some historians believe created mini-microclimates used to grow different crops.

A one-hour, downhill ride will immerse you in the peace of the Andean countryside, before arriving at the village of Maras. Enjoy lunch before continuing to the nearby salt pools of Maras. Originally mined by the Incans, these ancient and colorful pools are now individually owned and tended by the local people.

You will continue downhill for another 40 minutes, where you end your magnificent bike tour and transfer to Hotel Sol y Luna for your overnight stay. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure!

Hotel Sol y Luna Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 4

Sacred Valley to the Inca Trail

This morning after breakfast and checkout, you will transfer to “kilometer 82” to begin your private hike on the Inca Trail. You will hike for about five hours through a little visited section of the trail, stopping at Q’oriwayrachina for lunch. Cross the Urubamba River at Q’ente, with an option to visit Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata archaeological sites, in whose vicinity you will camp amidst Inca terracing.

Camping on the Inca Trail Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5

 

Inca Trail

After breakfast, continue up the Cusichaca Valley passing houses of settlers to finally reach the Andean community of Huayllabamba. From here the trail ascends steeply to a large Pampa below the first pass, where you camp. Here you have a breathtaking view of Mt. Huayanay.

Along the trail up this narrow hanging valley you begin to see a cloud forest that harbors the Queñua tree (polilepis), a rare forest to be found in the Andes. Camp will be set up at Llulluchapampa.

Camping on the Inca Trail Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6

Inca Trail

A steady ascent on an Inca Trail up to the Warmiwañusqa pass at 13,692ft toward a magnificent view of our ascent and the trail ahead of us. You descend on a restored Inca Trail down to the Pacaymayo River to then ascend again to the ruins of Runkuraqay and the second pass at 13,200ft. From here you walk down to the site at Sayacmarca at 12,551ft on the original Inca Trail, passing a dry lake and the first signs of the cloud forest. A beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley, it awards a respite for a leisurely walk through its imposing structures.

Continue along the ridge through amazing landscapes, viewing Mt. Salkantay from the western side and Mt. Pumasillo, a silhouette to the north on the horizon. Walking through a rolling flag stoned trail you arrive at Phuyupatamarca, “the village on the edge of the clouds,” in whose vicinity you will camp this evening.

Camping on the Inca Trail Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 7

 

Peru

 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

An early departure today will have you trekking along a buttress and passing Phuyupatamarca ruins, the flag stoned trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna located below the ridge on the same water course as the previous site, it has well restored Inca Ruins. After a two hour walk through a cloud forest covered Inca Trail you arrive to Machu Picchu the way the Incas used to come, watching the magnificent citadel at our feet from Intipunku, the door of the sun.

Make your way down to the park entrance, where you will board the bus and head down the mountain to the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in Aguas Calientes for some well-deserved rest.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8

Machu Picchu to Cusco

This morning, you will board the bus for the winding uphill journey back to Machu Picchu. Spend today with your guide exploring Machu Picchu, including lunch. An optional permit to climb Wayna Picchu Mountain will be included with your visit.

Machu Picchu, which means “Old Mountain,” is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven new wonders of the world. Lose yourself in awe in the “lost city of the Incas” as you admire the ruins. Feel as though you’ve been transported into a work of art as you marvel at the landscape of this iconic Inca civilization. Discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and believed to have been built to control the economies of neighboring communities, these ancient ruins depict a time of innovation, artistry and expansion of one of Latin America’s most notable historic empires. Believed by some historians to be a sacred religious site due to its location, there is certainly a spiritual energy on this green mountaintop cloaked in clouds.

Wayna Picchu is the tall mountain behind Machu Picchu, made famous in many iconic photographs of the citadel and surrounding area. There are fabulous views of Machu Picchu from the top, but the hike is strenuous and is only recommended for people who are not scared of heights and who have a good fitness level. Note: permits are required and must be confirmed and purchased well in advance. Time: 2 ½ hours, round-trip. Grade: Rigorous

Later, return by bus to Aguas Calientes, and board the Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo.

Your 1.5-hour journey aboard the Vistadome train begins in Aguas Calientes and ends in the village of Ollantaytambo. As the name suggests, this train offers its passengers picturesque views though its panoramic windows, connecting you with nature like no other experience. Gaze at the bountiful scenery that surrounds you as you traverse the Sacred Valley. Whether you capture this experience mentally or by photo, this scenic adventure will leave a lasting and memorable impression.

Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, you will be met for your private road transfer to Palacio Manco Capac in Cusco, where you will spend one night.

Palacio Manco Capac Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 9

Cusco to Puno

~ Embark Andean Explorer Luxury Train ~

Today you be transferred to Wanchaq Station where you will board the Belmond Andean Explorer luxury train for your two-night/three-day journey to Colca Canyon.

Settle down and unwind in your luxurious cabin as the train begins its journey southeast toward Puno. Savor your first lunch on board in one of the elegant dining cars. Refined Andean specialties are served with contemporary flair.

Your first stop will be to visit Raqch’i. Once an important control point for the Incas, it is today a fascinating archeological site brimming with history. Return to the train just in time for tea. Soak up the sensational sunset over La Raya Mountain range before preparing yourself for an elegant dinner on board. Afterward, perhaps head to the bar car and chat with your fellow travelers as the train continues to Lake Titicaca, where it will stop for the evening.

Aboard the Andean Explorer Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 10

Lake Titicaca

Awake early to catch the breathtaking sunrise across Lake Titicaca before enjoying a delicious breakfast.

Today’s tours explore the eclectic beauty and right diversity of life on Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the entire world. First, you will take a traditional boat ride to the Uros Islands, stunning man-made lands carefully created from woven reeds that are constantly being replenished.  Continue to Taquile Island, a beautiful island with a way life barely touched by time.

Enjoy a private lunch on Collata Beach, with demonstrations from traditional dancers and artisanal workers.

Return to the train for tea as the journey continues. Tonight you can anticipate a delicious dinner before retiring to your cabin.

Aboard the Andean Explorer Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 11

Lake Titicaca to Colca Canyon

~ Disembark Andean Explorer ~

Enjoy breakfast onboard before setting off on an early-morning excursion to the spellbinding, rugged scenery of Lake Lagunillas, Afterward, visit Sumbay Caves, home to fascinating cave paintings that are estimated to be almost 8,000 years old!

You will disembark at km 93, where you will be met for a private transfer to Colca Lodge. Accommodations have been reserved for two nights, including breakfast daily. Spend the remainder of your day at leisure, perhaps enjoying a dip in the on-site hot springs. Lunch will be served at the lodge today.

Colca Lodge Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

 

Day 12

Colca Canyon

This morning after breakfast, you will be met by your private guide for a tour of the Colca region. Visit the Colca Canyon and Valley, where you can find Pre-Inca terraces still cultivated today. See the magnificent flight of the Andean Cóndor at Cruz del Cóndor view point, where you can also appreciate the immense depth of the canyon. Along the way, pass by traditional villages and colonial churches typical of the area.

Colca Lodge Meals: Breakfast

Day 13

Colca Canyon to Arequipa

This morning you will be met for a private transfer to the Arequipa. Along the way, stop at the Lookout of the Volcanoes: Misti, Chachani, Ampato, and Mismi, which is the source of the Amazon River. See wild vicuñas in the National Reserve of Aguada Blan. Your transfer will conclude at the Casa Andina, where accommodations have been reserved for one night, including breakfast.

Found more than 450 years ago, Arequipa is a UNESCO Human Heritage Site. Use your evening to explore the city. Your hotel is just a short stroll from the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas, which is fringed with buildings made of white, volcanic stone called sillar. It is due to this color that Arequipa is often called “the White City.”

Casa Andina Private Collection Meals: Breakfast

Day 14

Arequipa to Paracas

This morning after breakfast, you will be met for a private transfer to the Arequipa Airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival, transfer south down the coast to the Hotel Libertador in Paracas, where you will spend two nights.

This afternoon, you will be met for your shared half-day Dune Buggy and Sand Boarding tour in the Huacachina Dunes! For the past 12 years, the desert oasis of Huacachina has served as the site of one of the most popular adventure tours in South America: the dune buggy and sandboarding tour. People of all ages visit Huacachina and climb into a 4-wheel-drive dune buggy driven by a professional driver. Half the tour is riding in the dune buggy, up and down the dunes at fast speeds. The other half of the tour is a chance to try the adventure sport of “sand boarding”. This is just like snowboarding, but instead of snow you will be boarding on the fine-grained sand of the desert. If you aren’t athletically talented, no problem! Just lay on your stomach on the board, and go “sand sledding”. This is faster, lots of fun, and doesn’t require any patience or ability. But this is more than just a thrill ride: the gigantic sand dunes are beautiful, surreal and mesmerizing. A tour into the desert feels like an “out of this world” experience, almost like visiting the surface of another planet.

After your tour you will be returned to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure.

Hotel Libertador Meals: Breakfast

Day 15

Paracas

Like a miniature Galapagos, the Ballestas Islands are a vibrant and colorful wildlife sanctuary filled with wild birds and mammals, including sea lions, fur seals, and endangered Humboldt penguins. Experience these animals in their natural habitation, making this a spectacular opportunity for animal lovers and birdwatchers. A wide range of seabirds also call the rocky islands their home. See and hear pelicans, boobies, red-footed Guanay cormorants, and many other types of birds.

Continue to your shared Nazca Lines overflight.

Head to the local airport where you’ll have the opportunity to fly over the enigmatic Nazca Lines (hieroglyphs and geometric lines drawn in the desert). Since their discovery, they have inspired some pretty fantastic explanations for their origin and purpose. These explanations range from ancient gods created them to they were once landing strips for returning aliens, a celestial calendar created by ancient civilizations, and a map for underground water supplies. Flying over the area, you can marvel at the perfect shape and well-defined lines of the animals, flowers, plants, objects, and anthropomorphic figures of colossal proportions. In the afternoon we’ll get back in to the Oasis where we will make a tour to a local winery to make pisco tasting, Peru´s national spirit drink, while we learn the process of how it is made.

Following your tour, you will be transferred back to the hotel. Enjoy the reminder of your day at leisure.

Hotel Libertador Meals: Breakfast

 

 

Day 16

Depart Peru

Today after breakfast, you will be met for a private transfer to Lima, where you will enjoy a half-day city tour, including lunch.

Get to know the most iconic sights of Peru’s capital city. Visit Museo Larco, where you will learn more about the fascinating history of ancient Peru. Housed in an 18th-century mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens, the museum boasts an extensive and fascinating collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. Enjoy lunch at the museum as you take in its lovely grounds overflowing with bougainvillea. Continue to Lima’s Plaza de Armas, located in the historic center of Lima and is surrounded by some of the most important buildings in the city. From here, you will see the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, and the Municipal Palace. The architecture here remains largely the same as when Lima was founded, complete with a beautiful fountain in the square.

Following your tour you will be delivered to the restaurant of your choosing for dinner (on own account) before transferring to Lima’s Airport for departing overnight flights back home.

N/A Meals: Breakfast / Lunch