Discover Southern Peru
Inca citadels, striking Andean scenery, cities brimming with history, one of the deepest canyons on this planet, and the world’s highest navigable lake – Southern Peru is host to an astounding list of highlights, and you can see them all on this comprehensive luxury tour of Peru! Start with a lesson in colonial history in Arequipa, then go on condor-spotting excursions followed by hot spring dips in the Colca Canyon. After meeting the islander communities of Lake Titicaca, venture along to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to survey the region’s Inca sites and get better acquainted with the authentic indigenous culture. During this private tour of Peru, the best is saved for last: Machu Picchu. You’ll have two full days devoted entirely to exploring and pondering the mysteries of the marvelous “lost” city of the Incas. Travel to Peru with this sample Discover Southern Peru tour as inspiration!
- Discover Peru’s colonial “White City” in Arequipa.
- Pay a special visit to Peru’s famous frozen Inca mummy, Juanita.
- Spot majestic condors soaring at dawn over the vertiginous depths of the Colca Canyon.
- Bliss out in the natural hot springs and mineral baths near Colca.
- Immerse yourself in local life with visits to remote Andean villages that are, for most travelers, uncharted territory, including communities on Lake Titicaca’s islands.
- Observe local weavers at work during private demonstrations.
- Visit rural communities in the Sacred Valley towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
- Embark on a private city tour of Cusco, whose fascinating streets feature a unique concoction of Inca ruins and colonial constructions.
- Scale the ancient stone stairway up Machu Picchu’s neighboring peak, Huayna Picchu.
- Relish a luxury tour to Machu Picchu with your very own expert guide to explain the history, architecture, and theories surrounding the site, before wandering independently among the iconic ruins the following day.
- Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
- Enjoy enriching experiences with local artists at their workshops.
- Relax in hand-picked luxury accommodations throughout your personalized trip of Peru.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrival in Lima – Welcome to Peru!
Day 2: Lima to Arequipa – Flight to Arequipa / Private Tour of the White City
Day 3: Arquipa and Colca Canyon – Travel Between Arequipa and Colca Canyon / Calera Hot Springs
Day 4: Colca Canyon to Puno – Private Tour of the Colca Valley / Cross of the Condor / Departure for Puno
Day 5: Puno and Lake Titicaca – Cultural Tour / Uros Islands / the Island of Taquile
Day 6: Over the Altiplano to Cusco – A Sightseeing Tour by Bus from Puno to Cusco
Day 7: Cusco – Private Walking Tour of Cusco
Day 8: Exploring the Sacred valley – Ollantaytambo and Pisac’s Archaeological Complexes and Pisac Market
Day 9: Visiting the Agricultural Lab of the Incas and Our Friends in a Local Community – Private Tours of Moray and Maras and Off-the-Beaten Track Stop at a Local Community
Day 10: Machu Picchu – Private Tour of Machu Picchu
Day 11: Mahu Picchu – Free Morning at Machu Picchu / Return to Cusco
Day 12: Cusco to Lima and Home – Return Home
DAY 1: Arrival in Lima
Welcome to Peru!
Once you touch down in Lima, your Kuoda host will escort you to your comfortable and stylish hotel in the oceanfront Miraflores district. Most international flights arrive late in the evening, so we’ll bring you straight to your hotel so you’ll be rested and refreshed for the next day.
DAY 2: Lima to Arequipa
Flight to Arequipa / Private Tour of the White City
Your Lima host will escort you to the airport in the morning and you’ll fly direct to Arequipa. Often called “the White City,” Arequipa is famous for its bleached bright colonial-era buildings, which are made from a pearly volcanic rock known as sillar. With the assistance of a Kuoda host, you’ll travel to your hotel of choice to settle in.
This afternoon, set off on a private city tour of Arequipa’s most intriguing sights, from the handsome colonial architecture to the Juanita mummy, the preserved body of a young Inca girl found atop a glacier who was sacrificed to the gods. The guided city tour concludes in the main square, Yanahuara, which boasts stunning panoramas of the city and the volcanic peak of El Misti.
DAY 3: Arequipa and Colca Canyon
Travel Between Arequipa and Colca Canyon / Calera Hot Springs
Set off with your guide to the small town of Chivay. En route, you’ll stop at Pampa Cañahuas – a reserve inhabited by llamas and other South American camelids – and the volcano overlook of Patapampa, from where you can gaze over the mighty line-up of snow-hatted volcanic peaks.
After checking into your personally chosen hotel, it’s time to bliss out as you sink into the curative waters of Calera’s hot springs.
DAY 4: Colca Canyon to Puno
Private Tour of the Colca Valley / Cross of the Condor / Departure for Puno
Following breakfast at the luxury hotel, head for Condor’s Cross to peer down into the seemingly endless depths of Colca Canyon, which is almost three times as tall as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper. While here, be on watch for the majestic Andean condor, which is frequently spotted soaring above the canyon’s abyss. Next, we’ll visit some of the settlements in and around Colca Valley to learn about local customs.
In the afternoon, enjoy views of the picturesque countryside during the five-hour journey to Puno. Because you’ll be in a private car, you can sit back, stretch out and relax. In Puno, your Kuoda host will check you into your lovely hotel for the evening.
DAY 5: Puno and Lake Titicaca
Cultural Tour / Uros Island / the Island of Taquile
Today, you’ll enjoy a guided private tour – which can be customized to suit those on family tours to Peru – around Lake Titicaca. Travel by boat to the floating islands of Uros, home to an ancient community whose ancestral lineage stretched back to pre-Inca times. Thanks to their self-made reed islands, which require continual renovation, the Uros people have managed to preserve their unique way of life and survive not just the Incas and the Spanish, but also the threat of encroaching modernity.
Next, sail out to Taquile Island, whose residents are honored by UNESCO for their weaving skills. Eat a lunch prepared by the hospitable islanders, before returning to Puno for transfer to your hotel of choice.
DAY 6: Over the Altiplano to Cusco
A Sightseeing Tour by Bus from Puno to Cusco
After breakfast, settle in for a seat on a guided bus tour that will take you from Puno to Cusco, stopping at several key points of interest along the scenic route. The first stop-off comes at the Pre-Inca Pukara archaeological site. Next up: La Raya, which at around 14,220 feet, will be the literal high point of your travels. Vistas of glorious glacier-capped peaks loom in the background. In the foreground, artisans hawk their goods on the roadside stalls.
After an enjoyable lunch en route, we’ll break to stretch our legs once more at Raqchi. The Inca ruins here are quite unlike any others. Rather than just temples or ceremonial centers, this town – once the Inca frontier – possesses unusual stone-and-mud-brick walls, designed to ward off invaders from the south.
The penultimate destination on your guided bus tour will be the church of Andahuaylillas. Whitewashed on the outside, this church’s seemingly humble exterior belies the extravagance that lies inside. The interior’s lavish frescoes, dazzling gold leaf and eye-popping wood sculpture has earned it the handle, “Sistine Chapel of the Americas.”
As you step off the bus in Cusco, you’ll be met by a Kuoda host who will take you to your stylish hotel, where you can rest and put your feet up.
DAY 7: Cusco
Private Walking Tour of Cusco
Today you’ll familiarize yourself with the delights of travelers’ favorite, Cusco, during a private city tour. Listen as your guide recounts its fascinating history explaining how it went from the Incas’ resplendent “navel of the world” to a forgotten colonial backwater to a thriving city, much-loved by tourists and locals alike. See vestiges of the Inca inhabitants, indigenous art and elegant colonial buildings and well as the artsy San Blas district and the perma-thronged San Pedro market.
Once you’re acquainted with the city, feel free to spend the afternoon exploring at your leisure.
DAY 8: Exploring the Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo and Pisac’s Archaeological Complexes and Pisac Market
Today, your customized tour of Peru will take you into the Sacred Valley to the time-warp town of Ollantaytambo, where original Inca town planning – including the street canals – remains in place. Climb up past the fertile agricultural terraces, where locals tend to crops such as corn, potato and quinoa. Soon, you’ll reach the remains of the Inca Temple of the Sun, whose elevated position provides stellar valley views. A guide will show you around the rest of the ruins pointing out the storehouses where the Incas would have kept their crops as well as the quarries from where the giant stones were procured for the construction of this very complex.
Return to the valley to the small town of Pisac where you will visit the village and its vibrant artisan market. Here, stalls are stacked with all kinds of interesting items, from curious vegetables and plant-based dyes to artful textiles and ceramics. After shopping in the market, make your way up to the ruins which sit on a ridge overlooking the town. Admire the stonework and gaze over the terraces where the Incas themselves developed many of the thousands of potato species which Peru now famously produces.
DAY 9: Visiting the Agricultural Lab of the Incas and Our Friends in a Local Community
Private Tours of Moray and Maras and Off-the-Beaten Track Stop at a Local Community
After breakfast at your hotel of choice, we’ll head to Moray to see the famous circular terraces, which are thought to have been used as an agricultural testing station by the Incas. From there, continue on to the small town of Maras to see the community-owned salt pans, which cover the hillside. Different sections are owned by different families who still harvest the pools using the same ancient methods established by the Incas. Next, we’ll break for lunch featuring local flavors, where you can sample regional cuisine.
After lunch, we’ll introduce you to some of our friends in an isolated highland village set on the shore of Lake Piuray. Agriculture is central to the community here, and many of the women are extremely accomplished weavers forming a weaving collective that places special importance on ancient techniques. Speak to the residents, learn about how they live, and chat to the children who attend Kuoda’s after-school program (Monday to Friday).
Return to your stylish hotel for the evening.
DAY 10: The Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Morning Train through the Cloud Forest, Private Afternoon Tour of Machu Picchu
Prepare for a climactic day! In the morning, we will board the train in Ollantaytambo for our journey to Machu Picchu. Watch the cloud jungle pass by through the large glass windows! Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes, we’ll tuck in to an early lunch in order to refuel before ascending to Peru’s lost citadel.
After a bus ride to the gates of this wonder of the world, you will pass through the main gates with your private guide to finally emerge at the top of the world – Machu Picchu. The incredible Inca stone construction will be spread below, alternately hidden and revealed by clouds. Your expert guide will give you a private tour of the ancient city.
Upon conclusion of your tour, return for an evening in Aguas Calientes. Enjoy an excellent dinner on-site at your hotel and fall into bed, lulled to sleep by the sound of the cloud forest around you.
DAY 11: Hiking Huayna Picchu
Hike one of the Coveted, Limited-Entry Hikes at Machu Picchu
After breakfast, you’ll have a free morning to enjoy Machu Picchu at your leisure. Perhaps find a quiet spot with views of the long-abandoned settlement to sit and bask in what many believe to be the mystical energy of the site. Alternatively, you may wish to climb to the top of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers bird’s-eye views of the centuries-old citadel. Be aware that if you do wish to climb Huayna Picchu, you will have to decide in advance as restriction is limited to 400 people per day and tickets must be purchased along with your Machu Picchu entrance.
This afternoon, you’ll board the Vistadome train and ride back to Cusco, where your host will meet you and bring you to your hotel of choice in the city.
DAY 12: Cusco to Lima and Home
Today is your final day in beautiful Peru, but you’ll still manage to squeeze in a little more exploring. After traveling from Cusco to Lima by air your host will take you to Miraflores, Lima’s attractive commercial borough, where you can shop and explore the leafy oceanfront parks. A car will be available should you wish to see more of Peru’s capital.
Later, you will be transferred back to Lima’s Jorge Chavez Airport for your international flight home.
Like the sound of this Discover Southern Peru tour? Get in touch with Kuoda and we’ll start devising your very own customized Peru private travel experience.
- Sit down with a shaman for a private meditation ceremony.
- Admire views of the Andes from your luxury, vintage-style carriage on the Belmond Hiram Bingham Train.
- Trot around the Sacred Valley on a Peruvian Paso horse, with an authentic “chalán” (Peruvian horseman) leading the way.
- Take a day hike along part of the famed Inca Trail and arrive in Machu Picchu via the iconic Sun Gate.
- Learn about preparing and cooking Peruvian classics with professional local chefs.
- Lunch on hearty Peruvian fare hosted by a local family, who will welcome you into their private home.
- Amp up the adrenaline with exhilarating adventure activities, such as riding the fast-flowing rapids of the Vilcanota River or zooming along zip lines through towering Andean peaks.
- Personalized itinerary planning: Work with a Kuoda Travel Designer to create a southern Peru tour of your dreams.
- Kuoda hosts take the hassle out of traveling. We’ll be there to assist you – whether with luggage, check in, transport, or translating – at every destination during your private tour of Peru.
- Got a question or query? Kuoda operates a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week customer service operation and will provide updates and assistance whenever you need it.
- With Kuoda, you’ll never be bundled in with big groups; each visit, activity, tour and experience will be completely private and conducted by your very own expert, English-speaking guide.
- Our private tours of Peru are fully flexible, which means we can modify them to suit your travel mood. If you want to cut an activity or add a new one, just say the word!
- All necessary adventure and trekking equipment will be provided so all you need bring is yourself.
Our staff hand picks the best hotels in the country to ensure you experience utmost comfort and character.
Feel free to browse our recommendations and let us know if you’d like to incorporate a specific property in your customized journey!
This sample southern Peru tour highlights some of Peru’s most tantalizing destinations, such as one of the world’s deepest canyons and the world’s highest navigable lake. This Discover Southern Peru itinerary will serve as the perfect inspiration.
Please know we will work with you to change or modify these tours however you deem necessary – all Kuoda itineraries are crafted just for you, built to suit your individual interests and schedules. Interested in customizing this particular itinerary?
The price will be based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.