In-depth Peru trip incorporating the best of Southern Peru looping from Lima to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
From: $6,495 | 12 DAYS | PERU
Panoramic Peru Trip Highlights
- Enjoy a dynamic exploration of Peruvian cuisine and the capital city Lima
- Spot enormous Andean condors in the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest
- Relax in carefully-selected small accommodations that charm at every turn
- Visit Arequipa and its colonial architecture
- Be intrigued by the floating civilization at the Uros Islands and get to know the Quechua people of Taquile Island on placid Lake Titicaca
- Ride the rails in a historic train along the ancient Inca Trail
- Explore the Lost City of Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate
Panoramic Peru is a more in-depth look at this dynamic country. An extensive loop from Lima to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, onwards to Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, this trip explores the best of Peru and has it all.
DAY 1 • Lima
Arrive in Lima, relax and discover.
DAY 2 • Lima
Explore Lima on a culinary city adventure before creating your own Peruvian dishes – there’s no better way to know a country than through its food!
DAY 3 • Lima – Arequipa – Colca Canyon
After a short flight explore colonial Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent. Continue to Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest.
DAY 4 • Colca Canyon
Spot Andean condors over the Colca, visit a small local village, and walk to natural hot springs for a soak.
DAY 5 • Colca Canyon to Lake Titicaca
Explore the altiplano visiting the pre-Incan burial towers of Sillustani and colonial Lampa on your way to Lake Titicaca.
DAY 6 • Lake Titicaca – Taquile and Uros floating islands
Said to be the birthplace of the Incas, explore Lake Titicaca visiting the Uros floating reed islands and the Quechua people of Isla Taquile before returning to your lakeside hotel.
DAY 7 • Puno to Cusco
Traveling from Puno you will have expansive views of the high Andes and visit pre-Inca Raqchi before arriving to Cusco.
DAY 8 • Cusco
Enjoy the day at your leisure exploring Cusco – a city where traditional Andean cultures, the colonial Spanish, and modern Peru fuse into one.
DAY 9 • Sacred Valley
Visit the isolated Amaru indigenous community. Gather plants used as natural dyes and see how the Amaru’s colorful textiles are brought to life. Lunch with community leaders or picnic amongst the Pisac ruins before bargaining for wares in the region’s most vibrant market.
DAY 10 • Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo
Visit the vast Incan complex clinging to the mountainside at Ollantaytambo, try alpaca tenderloin, and ride the train alongside the Inca Trail to your accommodations set amongst gardens, semi-natural pools, and hummingbirds at Machu Picchu Pueblo.
DAY 11 • Machu Picchu
Revel at the sunrise from the Lost City of Machu Picchu perched amidst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest. Enjoy a guided tour of the site with time to explore on your own as well.
DAY 12 • Machu Picchu to Cusco
Train to Cusco after breakfast, fly to Lima and onward home.
Is It For Me?
A physically relaxed trip that avoids strenuous activity, this itinerary is ideal for small-groups of any age that have a bit more time and want to do it all.
Knowmad has vast knowledge and operations in Peru; this is a private trip and we are happy to modify excursions, accommodations, and the flow of the itinerary to perfectly suit your travel style and interests.
Have questions? Talk to an expert: 612-315-2894
Listed prices are approximations. All Knowmad trips are custom and exact pricing is provided in your trip proposal.
- From $6,495 per person / 2 travelers
Additionally, regional airfare is estimated at $440 (Lima/Arequipa & Cusco/Lima—subject to change).
- $1,585 single supplement – rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations. If you request single accommodations you are required to pay the single supplement.
TYPE Flexible Date Private Departures. You choose the date, your travel companions and one of our adventures. This is great for families, groups of friends and couples.
LIGHT TRIP Suitable for nearly all ages and ability levels. Walks are generally short and on flat terrain. Activities include cultural opportunities, history, train ride, shopping, wildlife viewing, optional hiking.
DEPARTURES Year round; can be set up to match your dates. The Peruvian highlands high season coincides with their dry season from May through October (see weather section below). The low and rainy season can also be a greener and less crowded time to visit. Consult us for more information on the time of year that best suites you.
LENGTH 12 days – 11 nights comfortable hotels BEGIN / END Lima, Peru
INTERNATIONAL Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. You may arrange your international airfare independently, or we are happy to offer our feedback and assistance in helping you book it.
REGIONAL If booked by Knowmad Adventures, internal airfare for this trip (Lima/Arequipa & Cusco/Lima) averages $440, however this is an approximation and the airfare is subject to change upon booking. If you would like to arrange your own regional flights, please consult us prior so we can verify the departure and arrival times.
Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Signing up is easy. Call us at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected] and reserve your spot. Or simply download our registration form, fill it out, and send it back to us along with your trip deposit. Please refer to registration form for terms & conditions.
Weather & When to Go to Peru
This trip takes place mostly in the Peruvian highlands. Throughout the year the average temperature is in the mid-50s °F (10-12 °C) and does not fluctuate greatly. Evenings are cooler. There are primarily two seasons: wet and dry. December through March sees much more precipitation than other times of the year and is the less visited season. As Peru has three distinct climate zones, if you are interested in combining this trip with a visit to the jungle or the coastal areas please inquire for more weather details.
Prior to your departure, you are provided a detailed pre-trip information packet including a recommended pack list, information about the regions you’ll be visiting, suggested readings, up-to-date health information including any recommended vaccinations and more.
Our trips feature comfortable accommodations that complement their surroundings. We seek out intimacy and character, but never sacrifice cleanliness and security. We also find the best value for quality. In general, our physically moderate to vigorous trips feature hotels classified as 3+ to 4 stars, while less physically demanding trips feature 4+ to 5 star hotels.
As South American travel specialists, we’re experts and have inspected hundreds of properties. Knowmad is happy to suggest upgrades and alternative hotels based on your preferences to ensure your trip is perfect for you. Photos below are from this itinerary’s preferred accommodations. For more specifics, call or write to request more info, or download the detailed trip itinerary.
Accommodations featured in this itinerary are the following:
DAY 1 Lima
Upon arrival you’ll be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken to your accommodations centrally located in the Miraflores neighborhood. Relax and rest up or begin exploring the city on your own (depending on your arrival time, we are also happy to arrange a guided tour on this day*)
DAY 2 Lima
After breakfast you will begin discovering the city that was once the conquistador’s capital. With your guide, visit the Plaza de Armas, the colonial cathedral and Plaza San Francisco, the Torre Tagle Palace and more of the city’s most interesting sights. From there, head to a traditional market to learn more about Peruvian products and gastronomy. Try your hand at shopping the Peruvian way purchasing ingredients that you use alongside a local hand learning how to prepare a couple of the typical Peruvian dishes that are quickly gaining international acclaim. Continue seeing more of the city in the afternoon before returning to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
DAY 3 Lima – Arequipa – Colca Canyon
After being transferred to the airport you’ll fly to Arequipa. Known as the white city for its many buildings built with a stone called sillar, this charming city nestled amongst the Andes and volcanoes enchants visitors with its colonial architecture, charming central square, and friendly people. Visit the intriguing Jesuit complex of La Compania and the Convent of Santa Catalina, famous for its labyrinth of secluded quarters. Afterwards enjoy a delicious Arequipeno lunch (amongst Peru’s diverse cuisine, many feel Arequipa is king).
Leaving the city behind in private van, your Peru tour ascends to the highland savannah, or puna, for an amazing view of El Misti and more distant snowcapped volcanoes. On this high- altitude desert, you see herds of lamas, alpacas and the endangered vicuña. Descend into the upper Colca Canyon, known to be the deepest in the world, at Chivay and enjoy the evening soaking in the hot springs at your accommodations in the Colca Lodge.
DAY 4 Colca Canyon
Rise early and head out to the Cruz del Condor viewpoint over the deepest part of this famed canyon to spot Andean condors emerging from their nests to ride the thermal currents as the sun hits the canyon. This amazing site is a traveler highlight.
After lunch visit Canocota, a small community on the Colca River. Here you take a leisurely
walk into the gorge with impressive views along the way. If you’d like, choose to continue hiking about three hours and arrive to the remote natural hot springs at La Calera and take a dip. Meet the van afterwards and return to the lodge for the evening.
DAY 5 Colca Canyon to Lake Titicaca
Saying goodbye to the dramatic canyon you will head by private van through the Colca Valley and onwards to the altiplano or high savannah. Along with dramatic landscapes filled with vicunas and alpaca, you pass traditional highland villages typical of the region. Along the way you also visit colonial Lampa, as well as Sillustani to see the chullpas, or burial towers, above Lake Umayo. The Colla people, a warrior tribe that spoke Aymara, buried their elite in these giant cylindrical tombs, some up to 40-ft tall. Many archeologists consider this complex stonemasonry superior even to Inca engineering. Arrive in the late afternoon to your hotel set beside the world’s highest navigable lake.
DAY 6 Lake Titicaca – Taquile and Uros floating islands
Today you head out by boat for a full day exploring Lake Titicaca and the unique altiplano cultures that have called it home for centuries. Your first stop is the Uros Islands, which are actually totora reed vegetation piled atop itself forming the islands which float amongst the lake and support small bands of Uros people. It is believed that they have lived on the islands for centuries after fleeing the stronger Aymara civilization. The lives of the Uros people are interwoven with these reeds, which are partially edible and are also used to make their homes, boats, and crafts.
From here continue on to Taquile Island where Quechua people retain a strong cultural identity and rarely intermarry outside of the island. Visit our friend Alejandro for a typical meal of delicious products harvested locally and to learn of the islands lifestyle and traditions.
After lunch enjoy walking throughout the traditional island amongst this massive lake of vivid blue. Titicaca sits in stark contrast to the surrounding altiplano and separates Peru and Bolivia, making it as remarkable visually as culturally. The lake is also considered to be the birthplace of the Inca. Return by boat to take in the sunset from your lakeside hotel.
DAY 7 Puno to Cusco
Leaving Puno in a tourist-shared bus* you will travel northwest past the town of Juliaca and Ayaviri, climbing the pass to expansive views of the seemingly limitless horizon from an elevation of more than 14,000 ft (4,750 meters). Descend into the Vilcanota Valley for lunch after exploring the pre-Inca site of Raqchi. After an approximately 5-hour drive, arrive to Cusco where you will be met and taken to your hotel set in a renovated colonial mansion around an elegant courtyard.
* Flights from Puno to Cusco may be arranged at an extra cost according to your preference.
DAY 8 Cusco
Enjoy the day at your leisure exploring independently, or accompanied by your guide, a city where traditional Andean cultures, the colonial Spanish, and modern Peru come together in one of South America’s most culturally and visually dynamic cities. Visit Incan architectural jewels such as Korikancha – the temple of the sun; shop at Andean markets; enjoy savory, wide-ranging Peruvian cuisine; and see the colonial cathedrals built atop Incan foundations around the Plaza Central
DAY 9 Sacred Valley
After breakfast you’ll head by van along the Sacred Valley past the communities of Calca, Coya, Lamay and Pisac. From here you go completely off the map winding up a small dirt road, which takes you through remote Andean villages and arrives to the Amaru community. This isolated community holds strongly to their ancient customs, and practices a largely subsistence lifestyle on the slopes of the Andes. The Amaru will proudly open their village to you where you will learn of their lifestyle and traditions. Among other things, take part in gathering plants used as natural dyes, learn of their medicinal and culinary properties, and see how the Amaru’s world-renowned textiles are woven and brought to life.
Stay for lunch with community leaders or enjoy a picnic amongst the Pisac ruins that sprawl down the mountainside towards town. If still energized, you can enjoy a gentle hike through the extensive Inca terracing down the mountainside, or hop in the van, and arrive to Pisac – one of Peru’s largest and most vibrant markets – where you can bargain with Andean campesinos for handcrafted wares. Continue to your accommodations in the the breathtaking Sacred Valley of the Inca for a relaxing evening.
DAY 10 Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo
Take a leisurely morning to enjoy the grounds at Sol y Luna before continuing through the valley to Ollantaytambo where you visit a spectacular complex of Incan ruins towering above town. After a delicious lunch at El Albergue restaurant (the grilled alpaca tenderloin is phenomenal!), board the train that chugs along the Urubamba River and parts of the Inca Trail towards the Amazon arriving at Machu Picchu Pueblo.
DAY 11 Machu Picchu
Early risers can watch the sunrise from the Machu Picchu citadel or make the early morning climb of Huayna Picchu mountain. This incredibly vast archaeological site – lost to the world until well into the twentieth century – is perched amidst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest making it one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to get a complete guided tour as you begin to unlock the mystery of the Inca, and also have plenty of time to wander the site on your own. Lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge adjacent to the ruins means you’ll be able to enjoy the whole day without leaving awe- inspiring Machu Picchu.
DAY 12 Machu Picchu to Cusco
Take the early train back to Cusco after breakfast to catch your afternoon flight back to Lima and your evening international flight home.
Extend Your Adventure
Just a short flight from Cusco, spotting troops of monkeys, colorful macaws and countless bird species, giant sloths, caimans, and maybe even a jaguar or puma in the Amazon Jungle is a traveler favorite. We have scoured the jungle lodges of Peru and can advise you on which experience fits you best while guaranteeing the best value.
Let The Journey Begin
Planning a trip to South America might seem a little overwhelming at first. Knowmad offers door-to-door trip planning: first, we listen, and then we help you navigate the seasonal differences and itinerary options, resulting in a holistic, seamless, and custom-crafted experience, all at a guaranteed best value.
The simplest way to get started is to give us a call at 612-315-2894or to fill out this short form so we can learn more about your travel preferences.