Best of Southern Peru Itinerary | Discover South America

Best of Southern Peru Itinerary

Lima - Puerto Maldonado

  • Traditional boats in Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca
21 days / 20 nights from £2,460 per person Based on two people sharing double or twin rooms in standard accommodation. Flights are available separately.
Suggested Itinerary in Peru

The ultimate Southern Peru trip, this holiday combines wildlife spotting opportunities from penguins in the Ballestas Islands to condors in the Colca Canyon and monkeys in the Amazon Rainforest, in landscapes just as diverse.  Experience the many different cultures of the coastal, Andean and Amazonic regions of Peru and their stunning scenery.  A Holiday of a Lifetime!

Date

City

Activity

Overnight

Meals*

Day 1

Lima

Arrive Lima and transfer to your hotel

Lima

-

Day 2

Lima

Morning Group Tour of Modern & Colonial Lima

Lima

B

Day 3

Lima - Paracas

Travel from Lima to Paracas

Paracas

B

Day 4

Paracas - Nazca

Ballestas Islands Tour & bus to Nazca

Nazca

B

Day 5

Nazca - Arequipa

Free day in Nazca & overnight bus to Arequipa

On Bus

B

Day 6

Arequipa

Arrive Arequipa and transfer to your hotel

Arequipa

-

Day 7

Arequipa

Free day in Arequipa

Arequipa

B

Day 8

Arequipa

Colca Canyon Group Tour

Colca

B, L

Day 9

Arequipa - Puno

Cruz del Condor & tourist bus to Puno

Puno

B

Day 10

Puno

Full Day Lake Titicaca Group Tour via Uros Islands to Amantani Island

Amantani Island

B, L, D

Day 11

Puno

Taquile Island visit & return to Puno

Puno

B

Day 12

Puno - Cusco

Full Day Group Bus Tour from Puno to Cusco

Cusco

B, L

Day 13

Cusco

Free day in Cusco

Cusco

B

Day 14

Cusco

Free morning, afternoon Group Tour of Cusco & Ruins

Cusco

B

Day 15

Cusco

Full day Group Sacred Valley tour & train to Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

B, L

Day 16

Cusco

Machu Picchu Guided Tour and return to Cusco

Cusco

B

Day 17

Cusco

Free day in Cusco

Cusco

B

Day 18

Cusco - Puerto Maldonado

Arrive Puerto Maldonado and transfer to Rainforest Lodge

Rainforest lodge

B, L, D

Day 19

Puerto Maldonado

La Torre Clay Lick, Tres Chimbadas Lake and farm visit

Rainforest lodge

B, L, D

Day 20

Puerto Maldonado

Cocococha Lake Trek and Nocturnal Boat Ride

Rainforest lodge

B, L, D

Day 21

Puerto Maldonado

Transfer from your Lodge to Puerto Maldonado airport

 

B

* B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner


Upgrades and Extensions
  • Upgrade to Superior Accommodation (ask us for prices)
  • Make the trip more leisurely by adding extra nights and free days in any destination of your choice

Day 1: Arrive Lima and transfer to your hotel

Upon arrival in Lima you will have a private transfer to your hotel.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Lima.

Day 2: Morning Group Tour of Modern & Colonial Lima

After breakfast you will be picked up from your hotel to join a Group Tour of Modern and Colonial Lima. First you will visit the Colonial centre and the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), where you will see the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. Next, you will visit the 16th century San Francisco Convent, famous for its catacombs. The last stop is the modern district of Miraflores and after visiting one of the parks you have a transfer back to your hotel. You have a free afternoon to relax at your hotel or do some independent exploring. Spend the night at our standard hotel in Lima.

Day 3: Travel from Lima to Paracas

At the appropriate time you will have a private transfer from your hotel to Lima bus station.  Travel on a comfortable air-conditioned bus for three hours from Lima to Paracas.  Upon arrival in Paracas you will have a private transfer to your hotel.  The rest of the day is free to relax at the seaside resort.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Paracas.

Day 4: Ballestas Islands Tour & bus to Nazca

Early in the morning you will meet your guide and group at the Paracas pier to board your boat to the Ballestas Islands. On the trip, you will see the mysterious Candleabre figure in the sand as well as sea-lions, cormorants, humbolt penguins and if you are lucky, bottle-nose dolphins swimming in the bay. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours and ends when you return to Paracas pier.  At the appropriate time you will have a private transfer from your hotel to the bus station.  Travel on a comfortable tourist bus from Paracas to Nazca.  Upon arrival in Nazca you will have a private transfer from the Bus Station to your hotel.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Nazca.

Day 5: Free day in Nazca & overnight bus to Arequipa

You have a free day in Nazca. We recommend that you take a flight over the Nazca lines or visit the viewing platform outside the town (not included).  At the appropriate time you will have a private transfer from your hotel to Nazca Bus Station.  Take an overnight VIP bus from Nazca to Arequipa. Seats are extra large and recline to 160°.

Day 6: Arrive Arequipa and transfer to your hotel

Upon arrival in Arequipa you will have a private transfer to your hotel.  The rest of the day is free to relax after your journey.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Arequipa.

Day 7: Free day in Arequipa

After breakfast at your hotel, no activities are planned for today. We recommend you visit the fascinating Santa Catalina Convent, which feels like a small city in itself. You may also like to visit the Santuarios Andinos Museum to see Juanita the Inca Ice Princess, a well-preserved mummy which was discovered on the volcanic peaks around Arequipa, and is suspected to have been a human Inca sacrifice.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Arequipa.

Day 8: Colca Canyon Group Tour

You will be collected from your hotel early in the morning and meet your group for the next 2 days. Enjoy travelling over the high mountain pass to the town of Chivay, passing through the Pampa Cañahuas National Reserve where you may spot wild vicuñas and flamingos feasting on the mineral rich waters. Upon arrival in Chivay you will have the chance to visit the main plaza, before heading to Coporaque to check into your hotel. Lunch at the hotel is included. In the afternoon there is an optional walk of approximately one hour around Coporaque village and to the San Antonio hill where you can see the ruins of an ancient cemetery and excellent views of the Canyon. Later there is another optional visit to the hot springs at La Calera, where you can relax in the warm waters and watch the sun set over the mountains. Spend the night at our standard Colca Canyon lodge.

Day 9: Cruz del Condor & tourist bus to Puno

You will need to get up early today (around 5am) to travel to Cruz del Condor in time to see the condors rising up out of the canyon at dawn. You will be able to get close to the amazing birds from the viewing platforms on the edge of the canyon. On the way back to Chivay you will stop at several small village communities in the Colca Canyon to discover their traditional ways of life. You have time for lunch in Chivay, where there is a choice of restaurants, before boarding the tourist bus to Puno. You will be taken to your hotel upon arrival.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Puno.

Day 10: Full Day Lake Titicaca Group Tour via Uros Islands to Amantani Island

You will be collected from your hotel early in the morning for a transfer to the port. Here you will meet the rest of your group and your English speaking guide for the next two days. On the way to Amantani Island, you will stop at the floating Uros Islands, built from reeds by the Uros people who still live on the islands in traditional reed houses. You will see a demonstration of how the islands are made and have the chance to sail in a traditional reed vessel. After the visit you will continue by boat to Amantani Island. After being welcomed by your host family you will take a walk in the afternoon to the ceremonial centre of the island, known as the Pacha Tata, where you can watch the sun set. After dinner you can watch the community perform a traditional dance show. Spend the night in basic accommodation shared with your host family (note that occasionally rooms may be shared with other passengers, and that all rooms have shared facilities).

Day 11: Taquile Island visit & return to Puno

Experience the magic of waking up on Amantani Island. After breakfast with your hosts you will depart the Island by boat and head for the fascinating Island of Taquile. You will be able to take a walk on the Island to see the fantastic views and meet the local people. There will be a demonstration of traditional handicrafts (including knitting which on Taquile is practised mainly by men) and a chance to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Island before you board the boat back to Puno. You will arrive back to Puno by mid-afternoon.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Puno.

Day 12: Full Day Group Bus Tour from Puno to Cusco

After your buffet breakfast you have a transfer to the bus station. Travelling on a comfortable coach you will be accompanied by a local guide on the journey from Puno to Cusco. You will stop at places of interest along the way, including the ruins of the pre-Inca site of Raqchi and the village of Andahuaylillas where you will have a guided tour. Between stops, sit back and enjoy the incredible view of the herds of alpaca and llamas grazing on these highland pampas and the majestic backdrop of the Andes. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on the way. You will arrive in Cusco at around 6pm where you will have a private transfer to your hotel.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Cusco.

Day 13: Free day in Cusco

After breakfast, you have a whole day to enjoy the City of Cusco. You might want to visit some of the city’s varied museums, the handicraft markets, or the central San Pedro market, as well as the San Blas neighbourhood and you will surely want to try a local restaurant or two.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Cusco.

Day 14: Free morning, afternoon Group Tour of Cusco & Ruins

You have a free morning to begin exploring the City of Cusco independently, or enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel. In the afternoon, you will join a group with an English speaking local guide for a Cusco City Tour, including the Main Plaza, the Cathedral and the Koricancha temple in the centre of town. Your tour also takes in the archaeological sites of Kenko, Tambomachay, Puka Pukara and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman located on the hills overlooking Cusco. You will be back at your hotel by around 6pm.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Cusco.

Day 15: Full day Group Sacred Valley tour & train to Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel for a full day Group Tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your first stop is the picturesque town of Pisac and its colourful handicraft market. At midday you will stop for a buffet lunch at a traditional restaurant. In the afternoon you continue to the town and Inca Fortress of Ollantaytambo, a huge administrative, agricultural, civil, military and religious complex from the time of the Inca Empire. In the late afternoon or evening, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes where our local agent will be waiting to take you to your hotel.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Day 16: Machu Picchu Guided Tour and return to Cusco

You will have an early start today as you take one of the first buses up to the citadel of Machu Picchu. You will have a private tour with a local guide who will show you all the major sectors of the site, including the Intiwatana or sun dial, the Sun temple and the Condor temple.  After the tour you will have a chance to explore the citadel independently. When you are ready you can take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes where there are plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch. In the afternoon you will travel to Ollantaytambo by train before having a private transfer back to Cusco.  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Cusco.

Day 17: Free day in Cusco

Enjoy a late breakfast and a relaxing morning at your hotel. You have another free day in Cusco for last minute souvenir shopping and to visit any of the attractions of the city which you did not have time for on your first free day. Your Tourist ticket from your City and Sacred Valley tours is still valid and includes entrance to a traditional music and dance show performed every evening from 7-8pm (details on the ticket).  Spend the night at our standard hotel in Cusco.

Day 18: Arrive Puerto Maldonado and transfer to Rainforest Lodge (Cusco to Puerto Maldonado Flight Not Included)

At the appropriate time you will have a private transfer from your hotel to Cusco airport or bus terminal.

Note: The following is a typical itinerary. However, your guide will consider the weather and conditions at the time, and tailor your tour accordingly. Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado you will be welcomed at the airport by your guide and have a 5 minute transfer to the lodge headquarters in Puerto Maldonado. Afterwards you will travel on an unpaved road to Puerto Nuevo past various types of woodland, traditional banana and citrus plantations, cattle ranches and small creeks. Once in Puerto Nuevo you will embark on a one and a half hour boat trip up the Tambopata River which includes lunch. During your journey you might see river birds such as oropendulas, toucans or the magnificent macaws. Occasionally you may also be able to spot mammals like capybaras or monkeys or reptilians such as spectacled caimans and turtles. Once you arrive at the lodge, there’ll be a briefing and your guide will show you around the installations and to your room. In the afternoon you’ll head out into the jungle for a short walk in order to observe the flora such as immense Ironwood or Kapok trees and birds such as trogons, quails and wild turkeys. Once night falls you’ll also be able to find spiders such as tarantulas and other nocturnal creatures.  Spend the night at our standard Amazon Rainforest Lodge.

Day 19: La Torre Clay Lick, Tres Chimbadas Lake and farm visit

It’s an early start this morning to visit La Torre Clay Lick where, from a hideout, you’ll be able to watch the macaws, parrots, parakeets and the occasional mammal feeding on the earth. Returning to the lodge you will have breakfast and after a short rest head for Tres Chimbadas Lake. The entrance to Tres Chimbadas Lake is located fifteen minutes downriver from the lodge. It’s then a 45 minute walk to reach the lake located deep in the jungle, passing an eco-tourism concession held by the native people of the Infierno community who guard and maintain the area. At the lake itself you'll board a traditional catamaran with a single oar in order to move around on the lake following the route indicated by your guide. You can see luscious vegetation and birds such as snakebirds, herons and kingfishers. You may also find reptiles and mammals, above all the illusive giant river otter as the lake is the territory of a clan that can frequently be spotted. It’s also possible to practice catch and release fishing and maybe catch a piranha. Lunch will be served back at the lodge and after some rest you'll leave for an excursion to a local farm. This is a great opportunity to see, harvest and try various exotic fruits from the Amazon such as copazú, arazá, pijuayo and yucca. There are also various herbs and medicinal plants which are widely used by the local people. The farms also create open spaces for papaya and banana plantations. This is the preferred habitat for birds such as silver beaked tanagers, oreoles, oropendulas, toucanets and various woodpeckers.
Spend the night at our standard Amazon Rainforest Lodge.

Day 20: Cocococha Lake Trek and Nocturnal Boat Ride

This morning there's a two and a half hour trek to Cocococha Lake which is located deep in the Tambopata National Reserve and is surrounded by swampland, lowlands and hills. This change in elevation and vegetation in combination with minimal human influence leads to a very high level of biodiversity. It also forms an important habitat for many of the endangered and emblematic species such as macaws, black caimans and giant river otters that can feed and reproduce in peace here. After lunch at the lodge and some rest you'll have a walk around the trails. In the evening, you’ll head out in the boat to experience the sights and sounds of the Amazon at night. You might see a thunderstorm spilling out on the horizon or marvel at constellations like the Southern Cross or Scorpion. The boat carries a powerful searchlight in case you come across any nocturnal animals such as caimans, bats, nightjars or capybaras on the banks of the river. Afterwards dinner will be served.  Spend the night at our standard Amazon Rainforest Lodge.

Day 21: Transfer from your Lodge to Puerto Maldonado airport

After breakfast you will return to the local office in Puerto Maldonado before heading to the airport. Your guide will accompany you and help with the check-in process for your flight.


Included:
  • 15 nights in twin or double rooms in standard accommodation, with private bathrooms, including breakfast
  • 1 night on VIP bus from Nazca to Arequipa
  • 1 night in basic shared accommodation on Amantani Island (Lake Titicaca)
  • 3 nights in a twin share room or cabin at our standard Rainforest Lodge, with private bathroom
  • All ground transport mentioned
  • All necessary transfers with Spanish speaking driver
  • Tours as described with English speaking local guide (in a group unless otherwise specified)
  • Entrance fees to all places visited on your tours unless otherwise specified
  • Meals as indicated
Not Included:
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks payable at the Rainforest lodge bar
  • Unspecified meals and services
  • Optional tips for guides and/ or drivers
  • International and domestic flights (Cusco to Puerto Maldonado from £120 per person subject to availability)
  • Airport taxes

Click on image to enlarge
Traditional boats in Uros Islands, Lake TiticacaPlaza de Armas in LimaDolphins approach a tourist boat in Paracas BayHumbolt Penguins in the Ballestas IslandsNazca Lines as seen from the airViews on the way from Arequipa to ChivayCondor Watching in the Colca CanyonFloating Uros Islands, Lake TiticacaRenovated fountain in Plaza de Armas, CuscoCusco CathedralOn a DSA Machu Picchu TourMachu Picchu
Packing List
  • A body-warmer or down jacket
  • Thermal and fleece layers
  • Trainers or walking shoes
  • T-shirts for the daytime
  • Swimming suit (for hot springs visits)
  • Sun hat
  • Sun block
  • Small backpack for daytrips
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tissues (can be bought locally of course but good to have in your day pack)
  • Torch
  • Camera, memory cards & battery charger
  • Cash in local currency for souvenirs, meals not included and optional tips

Packing lists for specific destinations will be provided.

All our tours are fully customisable - please ask us about any changes you would like to make to this itinerary.