2. Lima City Sightseeing Tour
As the capital of Peru and the country’s largest city, Lima has a lot to offer travelers. While you could spend days exploring the city in full, a half-day sightseeing tour of Lima can introduce you to the highlights of the capital. An expert guide can show you a side to the City of Kings, as Lima is called, with a local perspective.
Choose whether to take this tour during the morning or the afternoon, taking into consideration either jet lag or personal preference. Either way, the tour commences with a pickup from your city hotel. Then, it’s onward to the historic city center, where Peru was once ruled under the colonial viceroyalty. Then, explore the stunning Love Park, a verdant park next to the coast that was greatly influenced by the architect Gaudi and boasts an iconic sculpture from Peruvian artist Victor Delfín.
Step back in time as you head through San Isidro, a residential part of Lima that is home to the Huaca Pucllana. This ceremonial site dates to before the Spanish arrival to Peru in the 16th century, and it is an incredible clay and adobe pyramid in the district of Miraflores. By some estimates, Huaca Pucllana may be as many as 1,800 years old.
As you approach the main square in Lima, you’ll see the two major palaces ahead. The Municipal Palace and the Presidential Palace are two of the most important political buildings in the entire country. Nearby, in the Plaza de Armas, you’ll have the chance to see the tomb of the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro as well as the 16th century Lima Cathedral. You can also view the Santo Domingo Convent, an enormous monastery complex in the city where monks live in traditional settings among the bustling urban environment. The final few stops of the day include the Church of Santo Domingo and the Museum of Religious Art. Afterwards, you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel in the heart of Lima.
1. Nazca Lines and Ballestas Islands Tour from Lima
You’ll travel by bus, ferry and plane to two of Peru’s more fascinating sights – the Ballestas Islands and Nazca Lines – on this tour. It will be a long action-packed day but well worth every minute. You’ll be picked up at your Lima hotel at 4 a.m., returning 16-1/2 hours later with memories to last a lifetime.
The day begins with a bus ride down the Peruvian coast to Paracas, a town known for its beautiful beaches. Then you’ll board a ferry to the offshore Ballestas Islands, a marine reserve known as “the poor man’s Galapagos” because of the variety of wildlife. You’re likely to see penguins, sea lions and a wide variety of sea birds, including cormorants, Chilean flamingos and Peruvian pelicans.
You’ll also see the Candelabra of the Andes, a 180-meter (600-foot) high prehistoric geoglyph carved two feet deep into a mountain on the Paracas Peninsula. Dating back to around 200 BC, it was thought to be a guide for ancient mariners, much like lighthouses today. FYI: the ocean can be choppy so if you’re prone to seasickness, you might want to bring something along.
Upon your return to Paracas, you’ll see more ancient art as you take off for the Nazca Lines. Everyone has window seats on this flight so you’ll be able to see these ancient geoglyphs that stretch over 80 km (50 miles). The Nazca Lines were carved into the ground more than 1,500 years ago. They showcase a variety of animals, from jaguars, fish, birds and monkeys, and even humans. Some figures are up to 360 meters (1,200 feet) long. Each figure has a special significance in the Nazca culture. For example, the spider represents winter and fertility. After your flight, you’ll enjoy lunch before heading back to Lima.