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.
- 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 / Fly to Arequipa, take a private city tour of Peru’s “White City, and also visit the famous Juanita mummy.
Day 3: Arquipa and Colca Canyon – Drive through picturesque landscapes, home to playful wild llamas and distant volcanic giants.
Day 4: Colca Canyon – Enjoy a relaxing day at Colca Canyon
Day 5: Colca Canyon – Puno – See the majestic condor’s flight over the Colca Canyon, and then travel to Puno with your private driver.
Day 6: Puno and Lake Titicaca – Embark on a private boat tour of the Uros floating reed islands, followed by Taquile Island known for its master weavers.
Day 7: Over the Altiplano to Cusco – Travel by first-class bus from Puno to Cusco, visiting the Raqchi ruins and the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas” on the way.
Day 8: Cusco – Enjoy a tour of “The Navel of the Universe” and former capital of the Incan Empire with your private guide.
Day 9: Exploring the Sacred Valley – Take in some ingenious Incan engineering today at the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley.
Day 10: The Lost city of the Incas – Arrive to Aguas Calientes by train and spend the afternoon with your private guide visiting the World Wonder, Machu Picchu!
Day 11: Machu Picchu on your terms – Hike the legendary Huayna Picchu, and then enjoy a scenic train ride back to the Sacred Valley.
Day 12: Maras and Moray – Visiting the Agricultural Lab of the Incas in Maras and Moray and Our Friends in a Local Community!
Day 13: Cusco to Lima and Home – Fly to Lima and tour the bohemian Barranco district with your private guide before your international flight home!
DAY 1: Arrive at your hotel in Lima after your international flight to Peru!
Lima is a metropolitan city known for its colonial architecture and mouthwatering ceviche!
When your international flight arrives in Lima, look for your Kuoda host holding a sign with your name on it! We know you’ll most likely be a little tired after your long flight, so we’ll save you the stress of trying to navigate and bring you straight to your hotel adjacent to the airport where you can shake off that icky flight feeling with a shower and a sleep. Relax into the evening and enjoy a good night’s rest before your flight to Arequipa early in the morning!
Day 2: Fly to Arequipa and enjoy a private city tour of Peru’s second largest city.
Arequipa lies at around the same altitude as The Sacred Valley, and boasts 300 days of sunshine a year.
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. You will also explore a 16th century convent before concluding your tour in the main square, Yanahuara, which boasts stunning panoramas of the city and the volcanic peak of El Misti.
Day 3: Drive to the deepest Canyon in the world, spying some new fuzzy friends on the way!
At 10,725ft (3,270m) the Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and the road to get there is also quite a high one! Warm layers are a must!
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 relax and enjoy the beautiful and serene surrounding and if you are staying at Colca Lodge, you can bliss out and sink into the curative waters of the lodge’s natural spring pools.
Day 4: Enjoy a relaxing day in Colca Canyon.
Don’t forget to take a dip in one of the natural springs in Colca Canyon as these springs contain a high amount of lithium, which in recent research has shown unexpected benefits in mental and emotional health!
Spend a leisurely day in Colca Canyon or just relax in your hotel enjoying the four pools located on the banks of the River Colca. These pools are fed by natural springs that produce water at temperatures of up to 80ºC. They are rich in minerals such as lithium – noted to promote calmness and relaxation.
Day 5: Get a close look at Colca Canyon, and then take a private drive to Puno and Lake Titicaca.
Puno is on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca and home to expert weavers, farmers, and as local folklore dictates, sirenas (mermaids).
Following breakfast at your 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 6: Explore life on Lake Titicaca with your private guide.
The name Titicaca comes from the indigenous language Aymara, and is the name for an ash-colored puma that used to inhabit this region and drink from its water.
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 7: First-class bus tour from Puno to Cusco with some intriguing sight-seeing sprinkled in.
La Raya will be the highest pass in your entire journey at 14,200ft (4,335m) above sea level.
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.
Day8: Explore the hidden cobblestone streets of historical Cusco on a private city tour!
Tucked into the Andes Mountains, the city of Cusco lies at 11,150ft (3,300m) above sea level!
It’s time to get acquainted with Cusco, a gorgeous city that wins the heart of most every traveler that passes through it. Get to know the real Cusco during a private tour. After breakfast, meet your guide and wander among the archaeological remains of Sacsayhuaman, where the Incas staged a great battle against the conquistadors. Return to the city and roam the atmospheric streets of the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, which is known for its free-spirited scene. Explore Qoricancha and the Santo Domingo monastery (a colonial structure built on top of the ancient Inca temple of the sun); see where the locals make their grocery runs at the open-air San Pedro market and pass the famous 12-angled stone, whose image appears on the bottle of the local Cusqueña beer.
At the end of the tour, your guide will suggest places to visit for lunch
Day 9: Steal away to the breathtaking Sacred Valley just forty-five minutes outside of Cusco’s city limits
Pisac and Ollantaytambo are fascinating Incan towns known for their artisanal wares and awe-inspiring ruins.
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 10: Enjoy a morning train through the cloud forest and visit the Machu Picchu Citadel!
Machu Picchu will take your breath away with its enigmatic and historical atmosphere.
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.
Day11: Hike one of the coveted, limited-entry hikes, Huayna Picchu!
Huayna Picchu, a not to miss experience while exploring Machu Picchu!
Today you have the option to hike two different trails – Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, so it’s completely up to you on how you would like to culminate your Machu Picchu luxury tour. Feeling adventurous? Consider hiking the steep slope of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers unrivalled views over Machu Picchu. Please note that only a limited amount of hikers are allowed to climb Huayna Picchu each day and tickets will need to be purchased in advance along with your Machu Picchu entrance.
In the afternoon, reconvene in Aguas Calientes and board the return train to Ollantaytambo. Your Kuoda host will meet you at the station and bring you to your hotel for a well-deserved good night’s rest.
Day 12: Visit the Agricultural Lab of the Incas- Maras and Moray and Our Friends in a Local Community!
The Sacred Valley is known for its serene breathtaking snow-capped mountain views!
After breakfast, you’ll be taken to see the ancient agricultural site of Moray. Experts today believe these grassy amphitheaters served as a farming laboratory, with the varying temperatures and soils of the ascending terraces providing different growing environments. We’ll pass through the town of Maras – known for its beautiful colonial doorways – before arriving at the town’s still-in-use salt pans. The small white evaporation pools that cover the hillside are still harvested by locals in a traditional manner. We’ll pause for a delicious local lunch, where you’ll be able to sample some regional fare.
Post lunch you’ll have a chance to mingle with the locals during a visit to an off-the-beaten-track highland village on the shore of the icy blue Lake Piuray. This rural community subsists on agriculture and many of the women are master weavers, creating exquisite textiles using generations-old techniques. You will have the opportunity to communicate with the residents, visit their houses and fields, and experience what day-to-day life is like in the Andean highlands. You might also get to meet some of the local children who attend Kuoda’s after-school program (Monday to Friday) – they love sharing their art with visitors.
Later, you’ll return to your comfortable hotel of choice.
Day 13: Tour the inspired streets of bohemian Barranco and bid farewell to Peru!
The Limeñan district of Barranco is home to Peru’s most influential artists, musicians, and cultural commentators.
Going home is the worst part of any private Peru vacation, but at Kuoda, we’ll do our best to make it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. First, we’ll bring you to Cusco airport for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, a Kuoda host will meet you and take you to the seaside bohemian district of Barranco. See the streets of Barranco come alive as you visit a number of local art galleries and shops that support local artisans. Finally, enjoy a first-class gourmet meal featuring world-renowned Peruvian flavors in a restaurant of your choosing before returning to the airport for your journey home! Buen viaje!
Like the sound of this Southern Peru private tour? Get in touch with Kuoda and we’ll start crafting your very own customized private travel experience to Peru!
Notes: There are many additional activities that can be added to the Southern Peru private tour, as our tours are entirely customized to your interests, hobbies, and expectations! Please note that Huayna Picchu has a limited entry quota per day and needs to be booked months in advance.
- 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.