- Explore Lima's notable sights and dine in one of the city's great restaurants.
- Take a scenic flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines.
- Discover the landscapes and beaches of Paracas National Reserve.
- Visit the Ballestas Islands by boat, home to an abundance of marine wildlife.
While many travelers envision Peru as a land filled with soaring peaks, ancient ruins sites, and fascinating Andean cultures, the country is remarkably diverse. Our Lima, Paracas, and Nazca Lines Extension—easily combined with any of our Machu Picchu adventures—showcases some of the most iconic highlights of Peru's southern coastal region.
Beginning in vibrant Lima, we visit some of this resurgent capital city's notable sights and neighborhoods, followed by a taste of the fusion cuisine that has made Peru a premier culinary destination. Heading south, we board a light aircraft for a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines, giant stylized line drawings in the desert that serve as a unique archeological memorial for a civilization lost in time.
Our journey ends at Paracas National Reserve, a protected coastal-marine park and home to an enormous variety of mammal, fish, and bird species. In Paracas, we cruise to the nearby Ballestas Islands to observe prolific wildlife, and enjoy beach walks surrounded by the unspoiled coastal desert landscapes and the sound of the Pacific surf.
- Day 1 - Tour Lima's historic center. Enjoy Peruvian fusion cuisine for dinner.
- Day 2 - View the enigmatic Nazca Lines from above on a scenic overflight.
- Day 3 - Cruise to the Ballestas Islands in search of marine wildlife.
- Day 4 - Stroll the beaches of Paracas National Reserve before returning to Lima.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Tour Lima's historic center. Enjoy Peruvian fusion cuisine for dinner.
Our trip begins today in Lima, Peru. Arrive in Lima this morning and transfer to your hotel. A transfer guide will greet you at the Lima airport and transport you to the hotel where you will have an opportunity to leave your luggage and freshen up before beginning the day's adventure.
Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, "The City of Kings" was originally the capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and maintained its capital status after the Peruvian War of Independence in 1821. Our private afternoon tour begins in the historic center of Lima, where the mix of architectural styles including Spanish Baroque, neoclassical and Art Nouveau is readily apparent. We visit the city's Main Square, Presidential Palace, Archbishop's Palace and the Lima Cathedral before descending into the catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco, believed to be Lima's oldest cemetery and containing the remains of over 70,000 people. Later this afternoon, a stop at the fabulous Larco Museum rewards us with newfound appreciation for the pre-Columbian cultures that inhabited Peru. The museum, located inside a viceregal mansion built on a 7th-century pyramid, houses the most complete pre-Hispanic collection of gold and silver artifacts as well ceramics, textiles, and pieces of erotic art. While those who have spent time in Cusco will already have a richer understanding of the Inca, a visit to the Larco sheds light on the host of civilizations that thrived in Peru concurrently as well as those that came before.
This evening, we enjoy dinner at one of Lima's great restaurants offering the opportunity to try the Peruvian fusion cuisine that has assumed a lead role on the world's culinary stage. Dinner and restaurant transfers included.
Day 2 - View the enigmatic Nazca Lines from above on a scenic overflight.
After an early breakfast, we transfer to the Cruz del Sur bus station in Lima and begin our 4-hour drive south through the coastal desert to Paracas National Reserve. Upon arrival, we check in at our hotel located on the shores of the beautiful Bay of Paracas, before a 15-minute ride transports us to the Pisco airport and our waiting light aircraft. The very best way to view the Nazca Lines is from the air and our overflight provides a memorable opportunity to see all of the giant 1,500-year-old geoglyphs depicting coastal, highland and jungle fauna (whale, hummingbird, monkey, and spider) as well as various geometric shapes. Weather and air-traffic permitting, we also fly above the nearby Palpa Lines, believed to predate those of Nazca and picturing animals, human figures and a prominent deity. Although the specific purpose of the lines remains a mystery, we learn about the various theories as we soar over the desert landscape. After our aerial adventure, we return to our hotel and have the afternoon at leisure to walk the Reserve's beaches, explore nearby Paracas town (a short taxi ride away), or take a refreshing dip in the hotel's inviting pool. Overnight at the La Hacienda Bahia Paracas Hotel for the next two nights. Lunch included.
Day 3 - Cruise to the Ballestas Islands in search of marine wildlife.
We spend the morning visiting the wildlife-rich Ballestas Islands. Located 45 minutes from Paracas by boat, the Ballestas are known for the abundance of seabirds and marine mammals that inhabit the islands and their surrounding waters. During our 3-hour cruise we'll likely encounter hundreds of penguins, boobies, terns, gulls, cormorants and pelicans as well as seals and sea lions frolicking in the water near our boat. A birder's and photographer's paradise, the islands are often referred to as Peru's "mini-Galapagos". Returning to shore by midday, we eat lunch at the hotel and have a second afternoon at leisure to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of Paracas. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 4 - Stroll the beaches of Paracas National Reserve before returning to Lima.
After a final relaxed morning in Paracas, we begin our drive back to Lima, arriving in the city by early evening. A transfer guide will be waiting upon your arrival in Lima (approx. 6:30 p.m.) to transport you to your hotel or to the Lima airport in time for your flight departure. Please do not schedule a flight departure from Lima prior to 11 p.m. this evening. Breakfast included.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Hotel accommodations for 3 nights; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; local English-speaking guides; Lima city tour and Larco Museum entrance fee; Nazca Lines flight; Boat trip to Ballestas Islands; roundtrip bus transportation from Lima to Paracas; private transfers from Lima hotel to Lima bus station (where bus to Paracas departs); transfer to Lima airport at trip's end if required.
Airfare to/from Lima, Peru; 2 lunches and 2 dinners; alcoholic beverages or soft drinks; guide gratuities; laundry fees; airport taxes; excess baggage charges or insurance of any kind.
This trip is rated as Relaxed . Only light physical exertion is required during your time visiting Lima, Nazca and Paracas. In Lima, our city tour will require spending most of the afternoon on your feet as we explore the various sights on our itinerary. In Paracas, there will be a variety of opportunities to take beach walks and swim in the hotel's large pool. This extension is perfect for those individuals interested in exploring Lima at greater length and discovering the desert landscapes and wildlife of coastal Peru.
The climate in Peru's southern coast is a desert climate with typically warm days and pleasant evenings throughout most of the year. Average daytime temperatures in Lima range from the mid-60s to high 70s with evenings cooling down into the high 50s and low 60s. In Paracas, daytime temperatures can climb into the 80s while nighttime temperatures may drop into the 50s. Rainfall is minimal throughout the year averaging less than an inch annually.
This extension can be reserved for single travelers. If you are traveling alone, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Lima, Paracas & Nazca Lines Extension Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary.
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Duffel bag (wheels and retractable handle are fine) sturdy and large enough to hold clothing and gear
- Passport security pouch or belt
- Daypack to carry raingear, camera, water and snacks
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Walking shoes, well broken-in
- Lightweight, easily washable items for evening wear or when traveling
- Lightweight fleece or wool sweater
- Lightweight long-sleeve shirt(s) for sun / insect protection
- Walking shorts - synthetic, quick-dry
- Pants - synthetic, quick-dry
- Hiking socks and liners
- Sun hat
- Water bottles (1-quart size) or hydration pack
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Personal first-aid kit
- Hand/body wipes
- Toiletry kit
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Watch with alarm or travel alarm
- Camera, extra memory and batteries
- Reading and writing materials
- Ziploc bags for easy storage
- Favorite energy snacks and drink mixes
- Personal medication
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, hiking boots, a pair of shorts/shirt/fleece top/sandals and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- Bring clothing that is lightweight and protects you from the sun. It is always good to have a lightweight, long-sleeve jacket, especially for the evenings.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure shoes are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Plastic bags are great for keeping clothing and gear dry. Use Ziploc bags to keep wet clothes separate from dry clothes.
- If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens wearers should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.
- Space for luggage is limited. Pack light, fitting all clothing into one duffel bag. During the day, plan on carrying a small daypack with sunscreen, raingear, water bottle/hydration system and camera.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.