20 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PERU ALL IN ONE TRIP: The great monuments & 10 best national parks in one tour accompanied by naturalist guide





20 BEST THINGS TO DO IN PERU ALL IN ONE TRIP: The great monuments & 10 best nature reserves in one tour accompanied by naturalist guide

This module provides a fantastic program for visiting the most famous cultural highlights of Peru. At the same time it serves as the Lima hub function for the Peru National Parks Tour. This module is the baseline for our National Parks Tour Module and our Manu Amazon National Park Module, each components of the 20 Best Things to Do in Peru. The Manu module can be taken at the beginning and the end of your visit to Cusco, while the National Parks Tour is usually taken after your visit to Cusco and surroundings.

Day 1

  • Transfer from the airport to your hotel, 1-2 blocks away from the sea-side Parque del Amor Park. Located in the up-scale neighborhood Miraflores, Paragliders take off from the coastal cliff, right in front of the Marriott hotel;

  • Depending on your arrival time, we like to take you to the Plaza de las Armas in the late afternoon, when on sunny days, the Palace and the Cathedral are at their best;

  • Dinner may be taken in the center, so that you may walk back to the Plaza at night to enjoy the buildings in the splendor of their evening illumination;

  • Return to your hotel behind Parque del Amor.

Day 2

  • Morning walk along the highlights of old town Lima with its gorgeous colonial churches, palaces, manors and streets;

  • Lunch somewhere in old town Lima;

  • Visit of one of the Huacas - pre-colonial pyramids;

  • Visit of the Larco Museum with a fantastic Pre-Colombian collection - debatably the best in the country;

  • Barranco neighborhood, with countless taverns and restaurants te ideal neighborhood to have dinner and an evening-stroll along the pedestrian street descending to the sea;

  • Spend the night in the hotel behind Parque del Amor.

Day 3

  • Transfer to the airport on your way to Cusco and from there to your hotel;

  • Stay in one of our favorite lovely colonial mansion boutique hotels with a central patio (may not always be available) in old town Cusco, 2 blocks away from the Plaza de las Armas in one of our favorite lovely colonial hotels with a central plaza (may not always be available) in old town Cusco;

  • Depending on departure time, a morning excursion in Lima or afternoon excursion in Cusco;

  • Suggested: Take an evening stroll in beautifully illuminated Cusco and walk into any restaurant to have dinner;

  • Spend the night at your boutique hotel.

Day 4

Exploration of Historical Cusco. With its combined Inca and colonial cultures, Cusco requires a full day's visit.

  • In the morning a guided walk, and;

  • In the afternoon: wandering around on your own to soak up centuries of culture and lose yourself in one of the Indian art markets;

  • Spend the night at your boutique hotel.

Day 5

  • A full day's excursion in taxi or van to explore the Sacred Valley;

  • In the late afternoon you will be dropped of at the train station of Ollantaytambo, from where a quality train takes you further down into the Sacred Valley until you reach the end station AguasCalientes, a small town stuck between the river and the steep mountain on which Machu Picchu is built;

  • You will stay at a hotel in the main (pedestrian) street, where you will be surrounded by countless pleasant restaurants;

  • If you like, upon arrival, you can take a 10-minutes walk to the hot springs and take a soaking in one of the volcanic baths and/or have a massage before dinner.

Day 6

  • Early in the morning, take the bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu World Heritage Site (±20 minutes), before the crowd gets there;

  • A guided excursion along through Machu Picchu sacred citadel;

  • Pending availability, hike Huayna Picchu Mountain, towering over the actual site of Machu Picchu. Only a limited number of tickets per day are sold and availability is not guaranteed;

  • In stead of taking the bus, walk down through the cloud forest of Machu Picchu Reserve watching birds and plants;

  • Take the late afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where a transportation is waiting for you to take you back to Cusco.

Day 7

Airport transfer for your flight Cusco - Lima from where you can board your international flight, or continue on your Manu National Park or National Parks Tour module. As you can see, there are many more than 20 Best Things to Do in Peru.


Upon return to Lima, hotel and airport transfers can be requested additionally (not included in the price).




TOP 10 PERU ECOTOURISM ATTRACTIONS: The great monuments & 10 best national parks in one tour accompanied by naturalist guide


Day 1

The National Parks module, starts in Cusco and ends in Lima.

So if you have taken our Cultural Highlights module, you don't fly from Cusco back to Lima, but in stead you take the first class night bus to Puno, Peru's main harbor on the shore of Lake Titicaca. We have looked at all options, and found that this is the best way to travel from Cusco to Titicaca. You will rest comfortably in an enormous sleeping chair and arrive early in the morning in Puno.


Day 2

Day 3

Travel from Puno to Chivay, traversing the enormous Puna - the highlands of the Southern Andes - while passing through the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. Make several stops in the reserve.

  • Watch birds on Lake Lagunillas;

  • Watch wild roaming vicuñas, alpacas and lamas;

  • Explore the hoodoo formations and Puna vegetation;

  • Stop at the pass at 4528 m above sea-level;

  • Descend to the little town of Chivay in the Colca valley;

  • Spend the night in Chivay.

Day 4

  • Early morning departure to the Cruz del Condor Overlook over the Colca Canyon before the crowd gets there and to see the Condors take off into the sky (a frequent event but not guaranteed;

  • Return to the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve at the Southern side of the park, to see a dry salt pan, often frequented by vicuñas in search of a salt lick. When filled during the rainy season, you may find flamingos;

  • Descend to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the colonial city of Arequipa;

  • Check in at the beautiful old hotel we have selected (pending availability);

  • Take an evening stroll through the beautifully restored colonial old town.

Day 5

  • Explore the colonial monuments of the city, which has fabulous churches, the famous Santa Catalina Convent and one of the oldest colonial bridges, the Bolognesi Bridge, dating back to the 1500s;

  • Take the first class bus to Nazca;

  • Register in your hotel.

Day 6

  • Morning flight over the famous Nazca Lines in the Nazca dessert;

  • Rise from coastal Nazca to the Andean Puna highlands, to see how the desert changes from no vegetation at all, to slowly increasing densities of different xerophytes. On the way you have a distant view of the world's highest dune: Cerro Blanco, where youngsters go snowboarding on sand. At any elevation along the road, you may see one or a few Guanacos, the largest of the 2 wild camel species of South America. 

  • At an elevation of about 4000m you reach the Pampa Galeras National Reserve, a Puna highlands reserve. This iconic nature reserve and breeding station from where the vicuñas were bred back to recovery after almost having been hunted to extinction in the 1960 for their highly valued wool. See the now mostly abandoned research and breeding station and reflect on one of the great recovery successes in conservation. You will see large numbers of vicuñas mere meters from the road. This reserve get less that 50 visitors per month.

  • Return to your hotel in Nazca.

Day 7

  • San Fernando National Reserve at a mere 30 minutes form downtown Nazca. This fascinating 100,000+ ha reserve gets on average 15 visitor per month. The only practical way to get into the reserve is on a tourist adapted dune buggy. While you drive on the highway, all of the sudden, in the middle of nowhere, the driver turns right into a gravel clad desert plane. After 20 minutes or so, low dunes are popping up and increasingly are covered with drought resistant bromeliads.  Anywhere in this vegetation you may find a solitary or small herd of guanacos. As the dunes continue to rise in height, the vegetation disappears, and you start realizing why you needed to get in on a dune buggy: These are very serious dunes and a regular FWD would get hopelessly stuck here. As you continue you get to the totally barren coast with a steep 50 m high cliff, where you are take to an overlook where you look down at a large sea lion colony, a breeding colony of Humbold Pinguins, Nazca and Bluefooted Boobies, Peruvian Pelicans and many other coastal birds. The crown on the visit however is a condor roost, where most of the time you can see condors resting, at times at a distance of about 10 m. Now, we never guarantee anything, but these condors feed at dead sea lions, which wash up on the shore all year. The park ranger told us the condors can almost always be found resting and/or flying around the overlook.

  • Caxamarca or Paredones, is yet another little known and little visited highlight at less than half an hour from the city. It is an Inca-related archaeological site where explorations and restorations have just started. The relationship with the Nazca lines is clearly there, but still being studied. On the way you pass by a small grove of Huarango or Millenium trees. These trees produce an extremely hard wood, that the inca's used to cover the roofs of their underground aqueducts throughout coastal Peru. All original forests are gone, but individual trees and groves persist.

  • First class evening bus to Paracas;

  • Check into your hotel in Paracas.

Day 8

  • Visit the Ballestas Islands National Reserve, famous for the guano manure, harvested from the hundreds of thousands of birds that are nesting and roosting on these islands. For obvious reasons, you cannot go on land on these islands, but we have organized a boat operator that navigates much longer around the islands than the standard tour, giving you more time to enjoy the birds and the Sea Lions.

  • Visit the visitor center of Paracas National Reserve and continue for a visit of one of the driest deserts in the world, where you will find no vegetation of any kind. Have lunch at a small fishermen harbor in the park, where you will enjoy the sight of Peruvian Pelicans and many other marine birds almost at your feet, while you enjoy a delicious fresh fish lunch (not include in the price);

  • Take the first class bus to Lima, where your tour ends in the evening with a transfer from the bus terminal to your hotel in Lima, which ends your top 10 ecotourist attractions journey. Hotel and airport transfer can be requested additionally (not included in the price).




Day 1: City tour Lima - Huascarán

  • Travel to the mountain town of Huaráz by private transport or bus;

  • Visit Lomas de Lachay coastal fog reserve;

  • Spend the night in Huaráz.

Day 2: Huascarán National Park

  • Morning: Visit Huascarán National Park Ulta Valley to the Cancara Lake. The Huascarán mountains are South America's highest mountain range with beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains. Passing by South America's highest mountain, Huascarán (6700m) and the world's highest tunnel (4736m), Punta Olímpica;

  • Afternoon: Visit the turquoise blue Llanganuca Lake in Huascarán National Park;

  • Spend the night in Huaráz.

Day 3: Pato Canyon and Huascarán National park

  • Morning: a private transport will take you through Peru's most dramatic "Canyon del Pato" making many stops on the way;

  • In the late afternoon continue to Trujillo;

  • Spend the night in a hotel in Trijilla.

Day 4: Trujillo Old Town

  • Morning: one of Peru's greatest monuments, the beautifully restored UNESCO World Heritage Site, the desert citadel of Chan Can;

  • Afternoon: Trujillo City tour;

  • Spend the night in Trujillo;

Day 5: Trujillo Huacas de Moche and Chan Chan

Day 6: Sipan Royal Tumbes and Royal Tumbs of Scian

  • Morning: The world famous Sipan Royal Tumbes and the Lord of Sipan's grave.

  • Afternoon: One of Peru's most impressive museums, the Royal Tumbs of Scian;

  • Visit the fabulous Brüning Musem;

  • Spend the night in Chiclayo or take the night bus back to Lima.

Day 7:  Return to Lima by plane. There are daily flights. 

It is possible to do the entire loop in 5 days, leaving out the city tour of old town Trujillo and the museums.





BEST TIME TO VISIT MANU NATIONAL PARK: Get to know one of the parks with the best wildlife viewing in the Amazon region


Cusco - Guadalupe Ecological Reserve

Enjoyable van ride that begins in the Andes, with a stunning views of the mountain peaks and remote villages Visit of the pre-Inca cemetery ruins at Ninamarca Guided tour in the charming colonial village of Paucartambo. Walk at different elevations , ecosystems and chances for pictures of cascades and waterfalls. Descent to the cloud forest and walk along the cloud forest to spot the amazing cock-of-the-rock and other colourful birds Lunch / Dinner included.



Paraiso Pilcopata Inn - Golden Vine Lodge

Breakfast and early depart to the Atalaya Port Motorized canoe to navigate the exciting Alto Madre de Dios. Lake exploration on local rafts to look for capibaras , monkeys and many birds. Moderate walk in the afternoon provides a good opportunity to experience the flora and fauna and observe the giant kapok tree in the vicinity of the lodge. Dinner and overnight at the Lodge (optional night walk)



Golden Vine Lodge - Guadalupe Ecological Reserve.

Visit to the Parrot clay lick along the river in the morning and lake exploration Boat trip returning to Atalaya. Guided walk along the trails for interpretation of the medicinals plants and curative herbs (wildlife rescue centre optional) Walks along the natural caves in the afternoon spiders, scorpions, bats etc at Guadalupe E.R Optional night walk into the swampy forest to look for caimans/ alligator. Camping night.



Guadalupe Ecological Reserve - Cusco

Early in the morning walks along the palm forest to observe the blue and yellow macaws (ara ararauna) Breakfast along the river. Return trip to Cusco.


Consult our Amazon climate page to know when is the best time to visit Manu National Park.

This fantastic trip combines the Top 20 Places to Visit in Peru in one trip, and unlike any other trip on the market, it gets you into Peru's unknown treasure, its fabulous national parks system, one of the best in South America.


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