A fascinating journey through Southern Peru
It would take a lifetime to fully explore Peru. For those who want to see the highlights, this Peru tour shows you around the best of Southern Peru. You will see condors swooping overhead in the Colca Canyon, learn about life on the reed islands of Titicaca, and take one of the great train journeys of the world across the Altiplano to the old Inca capital of Cusco. And finally, you will trek the world famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
You will meet your guide on arrival in the “White City” of Arequipa. This is a beautiful city to explore, and the ideal place to start acclimatising to the rarefied air of the Andes.
Arequipa boasts a magnificent marble Plaza de Armas, quaint old town streets, the picturesque Santa Catalina Monastery (included in your tour) and Juanita the Ice maiden museum (optional). Alpaca wool is Arequipa’s finest export and there are plenty of opportunities for treating yourself to some stunning textiles here.
Included: transfer to hotel, entrance to Santa Catalina, hotel in Arequipa
You drive up out of Arequipa, with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. You then descend into the amazing Colca canyon. The canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon and home to Condors and a very unique local culture. You stay overnight in the charming Colca lodge where you can soak in the private hot springs.
Included: transport, entrance fee to Colca Canyon, breakfast, lunch, night at Colca Lodge
A private guide and minibus are at your disposal for the day. Head out early to see the Condors as they ride the thermals out of the 3400m deep Colca Canyon.
You can hike to near-by ruins and visit a local community to learn about their unique culture and textiles.
The lodge has optional activities (not included) such as horse riding, mountain biking and fishing. Or you could just choose to spend the afternoon relaxing amid beautiful surroundings in the hot springs.
Included: transport, entrance fees, transport, breakfast, dinner, night in Colca Lodge
You take a spectacular drive to Puno across the high Andes. You will pass beautiful lakes, Vicuña herds and huge vistas. En route you visit Sillustani ruins, the site of pre- Inca circular burial chambers. The amazing stone work of this early Tiahuanaco civilisation was obviously a strong influence on the famous Inca stone masons.
The total journey takes about six hours including stops. On arrival in Puno, you can check in to your hotel then set out to explore this bustling lakeside town.
Included: transport, entrance to Sillustani, breakfast, lunch, hotel in Puno
Today you take a boat out to explore the islands of Titicaca. You will have a private guide and a shared fast boat.
First you travel half an hour to the floating Uros reed islands to learn about their unique way of life. You can see inside their houses and ride on a boat made of reeds.
Next you board your boat for forty five minutes to Taquile Island. Its famous weaving culture is UNESCO protected. You can learn all about it, before having lunch at a local restaurant. Hiking down the other side of the island you will find your boat waiting for you.
The boat journey back across the lake is beautiful, with huge views across the blue waters to the snow covered mountains of Bolivia.
Included: transport, boat, breakfast Lunch, hotel in Puno
Today you take the sightseeing bus from Puno to Cusco. The previous train service no longer runs but you follow the same route and do it slightly quicker. You travel across the Peruvian Altiplano, rich with llama herds, green Ibises and small mountain villages. This is a harsh place to live, but makes for a stunning train ride. The journey lasts eight hours and you stop for lunch along the way.
On arrival at the Cusco bus station we transfer you to your hotel. This evening we stretch our legs around the spectacular Plaza de Armas and dine in one of the many excellent restaurants as we begin to explore the fascinating city of Cusco.
Included: transport, train, breakfast, lunch, hotel in Cusco
Situated just fifteen minutes above the town of Cusco, is a series of ruins which many visitors miss altogether. By hiking between them, you can see first-hand, how their buildings were integrated into the landscape.
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 recreation of traditional Inca ceremonies such as Inti Raymi and Warachikuy.
Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3700m (12,000 feet) followed by a special picnic lunch. From here it is all downhill to Cusco, stopping at the Temple of the Moon and other historical sites along the way.
Included: transport entrance to the ruins, breakfast, snacks, lunch, water, hotel in Cusco
This morning you drive one hour to the picturesque Andean village of Pisac. The village is famous for its Sunday market and superb Artisan stalls. Pisac ruins, situated above the town have lots to explore. You take a circular hike through Royal buildings, look-outs, terraces, tunnels and irrigation channels.
You then drive forty five minutes to Urubamba the capital of the Sacred Valley. After lunch here, another half hour takes you to Ollantaytambo, site of the last battle between the Incas and the Spanish. It was from here that the Incas rebels fled into the jungles of Vilcabamba, where their race died out.
This charming and well-preserved village has a spectacular set of ruins guarding the valley. You take the late afternoon train down the Urubamba River gorge to Machu Picchu Pueblo and check into your hotel for the night.
Included: transport, train, entrance to Pisac and Ollantaytambo Inca sites, breakfast, lunch, hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo
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 afterwards 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 you waiting car will whisk you back to Cusco and your hotel.
Included: bus to and from the ruins, train, transfer to hotel, entrance to Machu Picchu, breakfast, hotel in Cusco
Enjoy a free day to explore Cusco. There is a lot to see here, or you can just choose to relax and watch life go by on the main square.
You could visit Qoricancha Sun Temple: this sacred Inca site was the centre of the Inca Empire Sun-Worship. It had temples for the sun, moon, stars and lightning. Within its walls there was so much gold, silver and jewels that, according to legend, it took the Spanish three months to melt all the treasures down.
There is also the impressive Cathedral located in the Plaza de Armas, with its famous paintings of Cusco’s great city fire and the last supper where you can see Jesus eating guinea pig.
There are also plenty of little handicraft markets where you can buy souvenirs plus a whole choice of restaurants to sample the tasty local dishes.
Included: breakfast, hotel in Cusco
Today we take you to Cusco airport in time for your flight out.
Included: 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.
Avenida Collasuyo 910, Miravalle, Cusco
9am - 4pm local time (GMT-5)