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The breaktaking country of Peru boasts steep mountains in shades of green, charming cities, and incredible historic sites. A Peru cruise will take you to the top sites of this Andean nation, where you will delight in the beauty and culture of the country.
You can visit Peru on a South America cruise that travels between Southern California and Chile or visit two local ports on our Best of Chile & Peru cruise which includes a double overnight in Lima, Peru, with overland access to Machu Picchu and the Amazon River.
At the top of most people’s Peru bucket list is that famous Incan site called Machu Picchu. However, there is much more to the country than its ruins, as spectacular as they may be. A Peru cruise excursion will take you right into the heart of Peru’s culture and history.
You can’t visit Peru without trying its delicious cuisine or national drink, the pisco sour. Local dishes can be traced back to Incan times, and you’ll even see guinea pig entrees on the menus here.
This city is often called the gateway to Machu Picchu, since it’s where Inca Trail tours begin and is where you can catch the train to Aguas Calientes near Machu Picchu. But Cusco is an incredible place all on its own, with elaborate churches, charmingly rustic buildings, world-class restaurants, and lovely plazas.
Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel featuring impressive structures and a mysterious past. This is one of the new seven wonders of the world for a reason—it’s completely breathtaking to behold due to its scope, remoteness, and beauty nestled within the Andes Mountains.
The ports of call for a cruise to Peru include two cities on the central coast of Peru: Lima and Pisco. The port for Lima is actually in Callao, located less than 10 miles from the city center of Lima. In Pisco, you’ll dock in San Martin, which is close to all the natural attractions and historic sights in and near the city of Pisco.
Top Peru shore excursions will take you to the famous landmark of Machu Picchu and on other adventures closer to the port cities of Pisco and Lima.
You may be thinking that Machu Picchu would be hard to cruise to since it’s not right by the coast. But visiting it is possible when you choose a Peru cruise itinerary that includes multiple overnights in Lima or Pisco with three-day excursions to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu isn’t the only historic site you can visit during a cruise to Peru. Other excursions visit the remains of Pachacamac, an important ceremonial center in pre-Hispanic America; Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid built with adobe bricks; or the Incan ruins of Tambo Colorado.
Head to the area nicknamed Peru’s Galapagos while in Pisco with a shore excursion to the Ballestas Islands. See penguins, sea lions, and an assortment of bird species, as well as mysterious carvings in the cliffs of the islands. You can even visit the area on a luxury yacht.
Many of Peru’s shore excursions include interacting with elements of nature or walking around the ruins of past civilizations. Therefore, it’s important to bring sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes to allow you to navigate rocky, uneven terrain.
The temperature can vary quickly from morning to afternoon to evening in the mountainous regions of Peru. Layers in lightweight performance fabrics that keep you warm are ideal for your upper body, while pants that easily convert to shorts via a strategically placed zipper are also convenient to have on hand, particularly if visiting Machu Picchu.
If you’re heading out to Machu Picchu, pack an outfit for your day visiting the ruins that meets the dress code. Yes, even this world wonder has a dress code, plus a few other rules regarding what you can and can’t bring onto the site. Changing your clothes once you’re on the site is not permitted, even if it’s just throwing a long dress or flowy skirt on over your pants. You also cannot bring drones, tripods, large backpacks, and food or drinks. You can only use walking sticks if you have mobility issues, and the stick must have a rubber end to better protect the stones and walking paths within the citadel.
For city exploration, keep in mind that locals dress fairly conservatively, so you may wish to follow suit when deciding what to put in your suitcase. If visiting religious sites during your cruise to Peru, you’ll likely be expected to have shoulders and possibly knees covered before being allowed to enter.
A cruise to Peru with ports of call in Lima or Pisco isn’t the only way to explore the country. Our Galapagos Islands vacation packages that include Machu Picchu will take you on a bucket list worthy journey to Ecuador’s ecological wonderland, where you’ll see endemic animals and ruggedly beautiful islands before being whisked away to Peru on an escorted tour around Cusco and Machu Picchu.