Dive deep into Peru’s fascinating history and rich culture with Ayni Peru on this 10 day/9 night tour. As you travel from the northern cities of Chiclayo, Trujillo, Paracas, and Lima you will visit the fascinating ruins of pre-Inca civilizations and learn about pre-Columbian Peru. You will continue traveling south to the heart of the ancient Inca empire, Cusco, and visit the small Andean towns in the beautiful Sacred Valley before ending your trip with a visit to the most famous ruin of all: majestic Machu Picchu.
As with all Ayni Peru travel, this itinerary can be customized or combined with tours in Cusco and beyond. Please contact us for custom itineraries, quotes and questions.
Duration: 10 days/9 nights
Departure Dates: Any day you would like!
Please see our group departure calendar for Ancient Cultures: The Peruvian Tour group tour dates.
Pricing: Please contact us for a custom quote.
Consider yourself a history buff? Peru is the ultimate travel destination for those interested in ancient cultures and their impact and influence on modern life. Peru was home to not only the oldest civilization in the Americas, but also the most powerful empire on the continent, and some of the most architecturally complex and sacred sites in the ancient world. To this day, Peru remains one of the most culture-rich countries in South America, if not the world. Join Ayni Peru on a tour through Peru as you dive into its rich history and immerse yourself in the cultures that shaped Andean life in Peru today.
Your journey through Peru’s fascinating history will begin in Lima. Peru’s vast capital city is home to some of the country’s best museums, and you will visit a few of them to begin building your knowledge of both pre-Columbian and modern Peru. This will serve as your introduction to Peru before you fly to Chiclayo, a city in northwest Peru. Located near the Pacific coast, Chiclayo hosts some of Peru’s most important pre-Inca ruins. As you tour these sites, including the Pyramid Valley of Tucume and Huaca Rajada, you will learn about the civilizations that were centered in Peru long before the rise of the well-known Inca Empire.
From Chiclayo, you will travel to nearby Trujillo to continue your exploration of pre-Inca ruins, including Chan Chan, one of the most significant archaeological sites in the country. The capital of the Chimú Empire, Chan Chan endured until it was conquered by the Incas.
You will then begin traveling south, stopping in the beautiful coastal city of Paracas, famous for its Natural Reserve. You will have free time to relax and enjoy Paracas’ stunning beaches and surrounding nature before visiting one of Peru’s greatest mysteries: the Nazca Lines. No one knows exactly how or why this series of over 800 shapes, lines, and figures was formed, and as you fly over the lines in an airplane, you will learn a few of the most popular theories. You will have to decide for yourself which you believe!
After visiting Nazca, you will travel on to Cusco, the heart of the ancient Inca Empire. This charming cobblestone city exemplifies the collision of old and new worlds. As you tour Cusco, you will see Spanish churches built on top of Inca ruins and women speaking Quechua, the native Inca language, and wearing traditional dress outside of modern grocery stores. You will learn more about this fascinating juxtaposition, and have the opportunity to visit local museums, markets, and more.
As you travel on from Cusco, you will visit the astonishingly beautiful Sacred Valley, located just outside the city. You will have the opportunity to visit several small towns, tour ruins, and talk to locals to learn about what life is like in these small Andean towns. From the town of Ollantaytambo, you will catch the train that will take you directly to Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of Machu Picchu. In Aguas Calientes, you will have time to rest and relax before visiting the world-famous ruins.
On the last day, you will have the ultimate tour finale: a visit to Machu Picchu! As you travel by bus to the top of the ruins, your local guide will serve as a wealth of information to ask any questions you may have. Once you reach the top, you will enter through the gates and come around the corner to catch your first breathtaking glimpse of the ruins as the clouds slowly roll through. Your guide will give you a private tour of the ruins, on which you will visit all the most important spots, including the Intihuatana stone, the Inca Bridge, the Temple of the Three Windows, and more. As the sun starts to set, you sill say goodbye to Machu Picchu as you prepare to return back to Cusco to catch your flight home. After an action packed tour, you will have traversed Peru, seen its most important sites, and learned its fascinating history along the way.
Arrive in Lima, Peru’s bustling capital city. Here, you will dive head-first into Peruvian history. First you will visit the largest and oldest museum in Peru, the National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, noted for its many historical artifacts. You will begin to step back in time as you view pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles, and much more. You will then visit the Museo Larco, just outside of the beautiful Miraflores neighborhood. Museo Larco will introduce you to more than 5,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. The museum hosts several fascinating exhibits, including the Textile Room, the Hall of the Ceremony of the Sacrifice, and the Gallery of Gold and Jewels. This introduction to Peruvian history will help prepare you for visiting the many remarkable sites that lay ahead.
This morning, you will transfer to the Lima Airport for your flight to Chiclayo, in northern Peru. Your adventure in Chiclayo will begin with a visit to the Lambayeqye ruins and the Pyramid Valley of Tucume, including the impressive temple Huaca Larga, the largest adobe building in the world. Within these ancient burial sites, textiles, Inca figurines, and other paintings were discovered. In the local museum, you will see a depiction of how people lived here over 1,000 years ago.
You will then visit the archaeological site Huaca Rajada before returning back to Chiclayo, where you will visit the Museum of the Royal Tombs. The museum has been built as an exact representation of an original tomb and is home to many precious Peruvian treasures.
Today, you will depart for Trujillo. In Trujillo, you will explore Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna- the Temples of the Sun and Moon. These are two of the largest pre-Colombian structures in Peru, and these exquisitely decorated temples served as the spiritual center for the Moche culture. From here, you will visit the Huacas de Moche Museum, where you will learn more about this ancient culture.
Next, you will visit Chan Chan, one of the most significant archaeological sites in Peru. Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimú Empire, which was prominent on the northern coast of Peru between 1100 and 145 AD before it was conquered by the Incas. You will tour this impressive series of citadels and learn about the Chimu people who inhabited them.
From Trujillo, you will travel by bus to beautiful, coastal Paracas. In Paracas, you will have a free day to relax at the beach, go to the Paracas Nature Reserve, or perhaps go on a pisco-tasting tour, where you can sample this locally produced beverage.
Today, you will travel to the Pisco airport. From this airport, you will take an airplane tour over the fascinating and enigmatic Nazca Lines. For 90 minutes, you will fly over this collection of strange lines and figures. From the sky, you will observe the series of more than 800 geometric patterns, animal figures, and more on the ground below. No one knows exactly how or why these shapes were formed, and many different theories have been posed. Learn the fascinating legends behind these lines and see them for yourself!
After visiting the Nazca Lines, you will travel to Lima to rest up for your morning flight to the heart of the ancient Inca empire: Cusco.
From Lima, you will fly to beautiful Cusco, located high in the Andes Mountains. You will depart on a private walking tour of the city, visiting the Plaza de Armas, Qoricancha, San Pedro Market, and the historic neighborhood of San Blas. You will see an interesting combination of Inca and Spanish influences, and learn about the influence of both these cultures on modern life in Cusco.
Cusco is full of ruins, museums, and churches that all hold special historical significance. You will have time to visit Casa Concha Museum, a museum focusing on this history of Machu Picchu, and the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. After lunch, you will make a short drive to the hills above the city, where you will tour four of the most important ruins: the impressive fortress Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay. All along the way, your guide will teach you about the fascinating history of the ruins and of the rise and fall of the Inca Empire.
After breakfast, you will depart Cusco for the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas. You’ll stop in the town of Chinchero to learn about and observe traditional weaving, then head to the colonial town of Maras. Here, you will explore the town and head off on an easy hike to the ruins of Moray. These circular terraces are thought to be used by the Incas for agricultural research. From Moray, you will continue to the Salineras, a cluster of hundreds of spring-fed, artisanal salt pools that cascade down a steep hillside. This method of collecting salt has been used since pre-Inca times, and you will likely still see families hard at work collecting the salt.
This morning, you will travel to Ollantaytambo, another town in the Sacred Valley. You will have time to wander its quaint cobblestone streets and visit the small artisan market before visiting the impressive ruins towering above the city. This site held special significance for the Incas, you will learn more about this fascinating history.
From Ollantaytambo, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. Here, you will have the afternoon free to relax before visiting Machu Picchu the next morning.
Today you will wake up early to catch the bus to the gates of the great Wonder of the World- Machu Picchu. As you enter through the gates, you will catch your first glimpse of the impressive Inca ruins below. You will have a 2.5-3 hours private tour, followed by time to explore on your own. Your tour guide will lead you through the various sectors, explaining the significance of each specific site. After your tour, be sure to take in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains and rushing Urubamba River below.
As the sun sets over Machu Picchu, you will return to Aguas Calientes by bus, where you will catch the train to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo, transportation will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Cusco for the night.
This morning, you will say goodbye to Cusco as you depart for the airport to catch your flight to Lima. From Lima, you will catch your international flight home- or travel on to your next destination!