A fascinating journey throughout Southern Peru
The highlights of Southern Peru in a thirteen-day adventure. From the desert coast cities of Lima and Arequipa to the immense Colca Canyon. The floating islands on Lake Titicaca and the imperial capital of Cusco. The final hike on the Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu rounds off a diverse and fascinating trip.
This would fit perfectly with one of our excellent extensions to the Amazon basin to complete the ecosystems of Peru if you have the extra time.
On arrival at Lima airport, please pass through immigration to the baggage claim area and then onto the exit. As you come out of the customs hall, please exit the airport terminal. The Airport Hotel Costa del Sol Wyndham is the building in front, across the road.
Included: Room & breakfast next day
Please check out and make your way back to the airport departures desks at least two hours before your internal flight.
Airport transfer & Orientation:
Arriving in Arequipa, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Arequipa is known as “The White City” due to the rocks with which it was built. It is a beautiful place to explore. It boasts a magnificent marble Plaza de Armas with a stunning view of El Misti mountain in the background.
Your guide will take you on an afternoon orientation walk and to the picturesque Santa Catalina Monastery. First opened to the public in 1970, the convent is a maze of intricate architecture and a photographer’s paradise.
You may also consider visiting the Andean Sanctuary Museum, whose collection of frozen mummies sacrificed on the nearby mountain tops includes the famous ice maiden ‘Juanita’.
The evening is free for some sightseeing and shopping. Alpaca and Vicuña wool are Arequipa’s finest exports and there are plenty of opportunities for treating yourself to some stunning textiles here. You can also enjoy Arequipa’s nightlife and fine dining.
Included: English-speaking guide, Transport, Entrance fees, Room & breakfast next day
Enjoy spectacular views of the volcanoes surrounding the city, as you drive out of Arequipa before descending into the amazing Colca canyon. One of the world’s deepest canyons it is home to condors and fascinating local culture, very different from other places you visit on this trip.
You stay overnight in the charming Colca lodge, the only lodge with private hot springs.
Included: English-speaking guide, Transport, Entrance fees, Lunch, Dinner, Room & breakfast next day
The private guide and minibus are at your disposal for the day. We recommend an early morning drive to Cruz del Condor to see condors, soaring in the thermals created by the deep gorge where they nest.
From here you head back towards the lodge stopping to visit local towns and make the most of the many beautiful photo opportunities.
After lunch, you can either hike to the nearby pre-Inca ruins, visit the Yanque Museum, hike to Uyo Uyo ruins or discover the unique native culture and weaving of the area. Or you could relax and enjoy the private hot-springs or Spa facilities at the lodge.
Included: Transport, Dinner, English-speaking guide, Room & breakfast next day
Today you take a spectacular drive through the high Andes, passing beautiful lakes and huge vistas. Enroute we can visit Silustani ruins, whose circular stone burial chambers pre-date the Incas.
The tombs of Silustani are built above the ground in tower-like structures called ‘chullpas’. Some contained entire groups of extended Aymara families. The only openings in the buildings face East, where they believed the sun is reborn by ‘mother-earth’ every morning. This beautiful site overlooks the crystal blue waters of Lake Umayo.
Your guide is on hand for the journey to Puno and to explain the history of the site and recent archaeological finds.
Included: Transport, Lunch, Silustani Entrance fee, Excursion, English-speaking guide, Room & breakfast next day
Lake Titicaca is a photographer’s dream, with clear sapphire waters and astounding blue skies that mesmerize all that see them.
You will board a shared fast boat for a cruise on Lake Titicaca where your own private guide fully explains the local history, traditions and agricultural methods of the islands.
The famous floating reed islands of Uros and the ancient traditions and weaving of Taquille Island are explained and viewed at your leisure.
You will have lunch in a typical restaurant before returning to Puno and transferring back to your hotel.
Included: Boat ticket, Excursion, English-speaking guide, Transport, Lunch, Taquille island entrance fee, Uros Islands entrance fee, Room & breakfast next day
A transfer from your hotel will take you to nearby Puno station, where you can continue your onward travel across the high plains.
This bus journey from Puno to Cusco includes an English-speaking guide on board the bus, which makes stops at Andahuaylillas, Raqchi, Pukara museum, Abra La Raya, Pukara museum and includes a buffet lunch at Restaurant Turistico La Pascana. You are also entitled to free wi-fi and hot drinks on board the bus.
We transfer you from Cusco Bus station to your hotel.
Included: Transfer agent, Transport, Bus ticket, Church entrance fee, Entrance fees, English-speaking guide, Lunch, Snacks, Water, Room & breakfast next day
Enjoy a free morning in Cusco for some rest and recuperation. Whether your interest is exploring Inca ruins, visiting Colonial churches, bargain hunting in artisan markets, visiting the chocolate museum or just relaxing over a coffee on a terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas, Cusco has something for everyone.
Today we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
We tailor the city tour to you and your interests. You will have an expert guide at your disposal to show you some of the highlights of this beautiful city. Tell him what you like and he can advise as to the best route for your tour.
You may choose to start with the Plaza de Armas and a visit to its impressive Cathedral. This contains some historic pieces from the Cusqueña School of Art. Look out for the Macaw-winged cherubs and the guinea pig served at The Last Supper.
Qoricancha temple, once home to the centre of the Inca Sun worship with its life-sized statues in solid gold, is another very popular option.
Then, visit one of the bustling markets like San Pedro Market, full of tropical fruits fresh from the Amazon. Or stroll through the impressive Inca-walled streets and head up through the San Blas artisan district to San Cristobal church for a spectacular view over the red-tiled rooftops of Cusco.
Included: Lunch, English-speaking guide, Cathedral and Qoricancha entrance, Water, Room & breakfast next day
Today you stretch your legs with a delightful hike in the hills above Cusco. First, you visit the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman. Huge stone ramparts surround a beautiful grass amphitheatre.
Once the scene of fierce battles it now hosts the annual re-enactment of traditional Inca ceremonies such as Inti Raymi and Warachikuy. Sundays also see families from Cusco head up here to play, fly kites and dig the traditional huatias, a method of cooking potatoes in the ground.
Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3700m (12,000 feet) followed by a special picnic lunch. A trail through the fields leads you to the intricately carved Inca Temple of the Moon.
From here a beautifully preserved section of the Royal Inca Trail leads you down into the old San Blas district, home to the city’s artists and finally into the Plaza de Armas.
Included: English-speaking guide, Transport, Lunch, Boleto turistico, Room & breakfast next day
Leaving Cusco behind you start your journey to Machu Picchu. You drive to the fascinating circular ruins of Moray about one hour outside Cusco. While some think it was a landing pad for alien spaceships, most agree the Incas built this as an experimental agricultural centre.
Concentric circular terraces allowed them to simulate different facing slopes and different growing temperatures to see which crops would grow where. They then used this knowledge to cultivate the varied terrain of their vast empire providing abundant amounts of food to feed the people, After exploring Moray you take a mainly downhill trail through the fields.
Depending on the time of year, you may have a chance to stop and chat with local farmers digging their fields of corn or planting potatoes. Perhaps you could have a go with the hand tools that have been used for centuries.
Along the way, you stop for a homemade picnic with marvellous views across to the snow-capped Viilcanota mountains before carrying on down to the spectacular salt pans of Maras. Here you can stop and watch as local families extract the salt by hand, much as they have done for centuries.
You could even buy some of the famous Maras Pink Salt as a souvenir. Finally, you take the old track down to the Sacred Valley, where once llamas, then horses carried out the salt to be sent across the empire. Your support vehicle is on hand most of the day, should anyone prefer to take a ride rather than walk at any point.
Included: English-speaking guide, Transport, Lunch, Maras salt-pans entrance fee, Room & breakfast next day
You start the day with an early transfer to catch the train towards Machu Picchu. Jumping off at km104 you pass through the control point and begin your Inca Trail trek.
First, you visit the recently restored ruins of Chachabamba before gradually ascending through tropical cloud forest up towards the base of Wiñay Wayna. Here you climb more steeply on old Inca stairways through these beautiful terraces, stopping to explore the various buildings and water features.
Here we can enjoy our packed lunch, with a great view. You then continue on perhaps the loveliest part of the whole Inca Trail.
Lush vegetation flanks you on either side, the scent of wild orchids fills the air, and all around you brightly coloured tropical songbirds fill your ears with song.
Soon you will reach a final set of stairs to arrive at Inti Punku, the gateway of the Sun. As you step through the old stone gateway, Machu Picchu appears laid out before your eyes. After plenty of photos, you carry on past this wonder of the world to catch the bus down to the lively town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and a well-deserved hotel and shower.
Whilst walking all you need is your daypack as your overnight luggage will be transferred to your hotel in Machu Picchu town to await your arrival.
Included: English-speaking guide, Trekking porter, Luggage porter, Train ticket down, Guide’s train ticket down, km104 Inca trail permit, Bus ticket, Box lunch, Dinner, Room & breakfast next day
First thing in the morning you head up the hill to the fabled “Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu” for a fully guided tour of the residential, religious and agricultural sectors. There is time afterward to hike to the Inca Bridge, Watchman’s hut, or else just wander through the ruins soaking up the atmosphere.
(Please note Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain require an extra, limited-availability permit. Please enquire at time of booking if you require one.)
In the afternoon, you board the train for the ride back along the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here your waiting car will whisk you back to Cusco and your hotel.
Included: Bus ticket, English-speaking guide, Lunch, Guide’s train ticket return, Train ticket return, Transport, Room & breakfast next day
Back once more in the old Inca capital, you have time to enjoy all that this city has to offer. Inca Museums, chocolate making classes, souvenir hunting or even just sitting in one of the many cafés and watching the world go by.
We transfer you to Cusco Airport at least two hours before your onward flight.
Included: Airport transfer, breakfast
In order to fully enjoy your trip it is very important that you choose the right trip for you and fully understand what it involves.
There are risks inherent in travelling in Peru, as indeed there are in most of the activities that we provide. Many of the activities we offer also involve a significant level of effort on your part. After all, it is called Adventure Travel for a reason.
It is really important that you read both the trip notes above and the Risk and Safety Section on our website, to enable you to choose the best trip for you. Once you have read them both, please make sure you ask if there is anything you do not understand. We classify this trip as:
Cultural… This trip does not involve any particularly physical level of activity, but just being in Peru can have its own challenges. Your trip may involve being at altitude which can take some people a bit of time to get used to. Much of it will take place outdoors where you can be exposed to weather conditions. Many of the places you visit have uneven ground and sets of steps. Most of Peru is very well set up for tourists, over one million people successfully visit Machu Picchu each year, but it is important to understand that it is not quite like being at home.
We create safe, responsibly run adventures in Cusco and the Sacred Valley for lovers of the great outdoors. We are a Certified B Corps and hold all Adventure Licenses for the activities we offer.
Avenida Collasuyo 910, Miravalle, Cusco
9am-4pm local time (GMT-5)
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