Affordable Day Trips from Lima, Peru
Lima, the capital of Peru, lies on the country's arid Pacific coast. Though its colonial center is preserved, it's a bustling metropolis and one of South America's largest cities. After Cairo, this sprawling metropolis is the second-driest world capital, rising above a long coastline of crumbling cliffs. To enjoy it, climb on the wave of chaos that spans from high-rise condos built alongside pre-Columbian temples, and fast Pacific breakers rolling toward noisy traffic snarls. Think one part southern Cali doused with a heavy dose of America Latina. But Lima is also sophisticated, with civilization that dates back millennia. Stately museums display sublime pottery; galleries debut edgy art; solemn religious processions recall the 18th century and crowded nightclubs dispense tropical beats. It's home to the Museo Larco collection of pre-Columbian art and the Museo de la Nacion, tracing the history of Peru's ancient civilizations. The Plaza de Armas and the 16th-century cathedral are the heart of old Lima Centro. No visitor can miss the capital's culinary genius, part of a gastronomic revolution more than 400 years in the making. This is Lima. Shrouded in history, gloriously messy and full of aesthetic delights. Don't even think of missing it. With so much to see, do, and taste, Lima is a great place to experience and use as a base for exploring nearby areas, and there are several options for day trips from the city to help you make the most of your time here.
After complimentary pickup from your hotel in Lima, you'll be driven north 115 miles to the ancient ruins of Caral, located in the Supe Valley. Caral spans more than 150 acres and is considered to be the oldest place of civilization in the Americas. At the ancient city, you'll see six terraced pyramids that are thought to have been the main center of town. Surrounding the pyramids sit many residential structures and sunken plazas. Get a glimpse into how the ancient people of Caral lived as you admire many artifacts and dwellings, including pieces of textile, necklaces, flutes made from animal bones, reed and woven bags, ceremonial burial relics and structures made from adobe and stone. You'll also see evidence of agricultural practices and elaborate religious ceremonies, as well as a design carved into the earth called Chupacigaro, which was used to measure the movements of the stars. After exploring the ruins, you'll have time to get lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to Lima.
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Experience a bird's eye view flying by Cessna above one of the great creations of the ancient world, the Nazca Lines, on this 11-hour tour leaving from Lima. Learn the fascinating myths about the creation of this UNESCO World Heritage site, unexplained by scientists and archaeologists to this day. Start your Nazca excursion with a 7am pickup from your hotel in San Isidro or Miraflores, proceeding by luxury Mercedes van with your guide towards the Peruvian city of Paracas for your flight. The drive takes about 4 hours each way. Arrive at the airport, climb aboard your Cessna plane and take a seat by the window to begin your flight. Soar above the arid plains of the Nazca Plateau a remote desert area that is home to this famous archaeological site. Gaze in wonder as your pilot loops you around each of the site's unique designs, allowing time for a closer look. While the creation of the lines remains a mystery, many experts believe the Nazca people designed them sometime between 400 and 650 AD. The majority of which depict various animals and symbolic events from Nazca culture. Take time over the course of your 1.5 hour aerial exploration to capture plenty of pictures, returning to the Paracas airport when the time is up. Feel free to grab lunch at your own expense in town before the return trip back to your Lima hotel.
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On the drive to the Pachacamac archeological site, your guide will provide an orientation about the culture and people that once lived there. On this half-day program you'll visit the site's museum and its monuments. Take in the Temple of the Sun, the Old Temple, the Painted Temple, Taulichumbi Palace and more. Pachacamac was the major Pre-Hispanic ceremonial center on America's Pacific Coast. See the buildings of the 4 known cultures that occupied the site over time. Enjoy views of the sea from the Temple of the Sun, the highest point in Pachacamac.
Return to Lima and visit the district of Chorrillos, an area that played an important role in the war with Chile from 1879 to 1883. Later the tour continues to the Wetlands of Villa and the Costa Verde beach circuit. Lastly, you'll visit Barranco, where you'll take a walk by the Bridge of Sighs, La Ermita Church and other buildings that date from Lima's colonial era.
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This tour offers a lunch box on board and a tour to Cerro Azul beach and cove. Ride by the fisher's cove and the enormous dock where you will see all the marine life and beautiful landscapes around. Visit Lunahuana and its main square, the cathedral and Lunahuana's main streets where crafts and Pisco cocktails can be found. Raft for 1-hour on the Canete River. Practice the exciting canopy sport over the Canete river and enjoy spectacular views of this great valley. Have lunch in Lunahuana. Lunahuana offers great food options such as prawns and local food made of fish, meat and chicken. Afterwards, visit the town of Catapalla and see its wooden bridge and craft shops. Tour Los Reyes and La Reina de Lunahuana wineries and Los Girasoles beekeeping. In each of these places, you will be given an explanation about the process of production of pisco, wine, and honey and get to taste these products.
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