• Overview
  • Photos & Video
  • Pricing
  • Dates
  • Hotels
  • Extensions
  • Trip Reviews
  • FAQ

The Peru Highlights tour is an excellent overview of the best that Peru has to offer. Travel to the Amazon basin rainforest in a dug-out canoe. Stay in an impressive lodge, complete with an ethno-botanical center and experienced guides to teach you the ways of the rainforest. This ideal Peru tour continues with a trip to the hidden citadel of Machu Picchu, through the magnificent Sacred Valley in the Andes. Finally, the trip ends with a visit to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.

Itinerary
Day 1: ARRIVE LIMA

Transfer to your hotel and settle in. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional museum visits or tours of the city and surrounding sites. Ramada Hotel Upgrade - $50 Per Person. Many flights arrive into Lima International Airport late at night. For your convenience we highly recommend an upgrade to the hotel Ramada, a comfortable four star hotel located right in the Lima airport. This upgrade will save you up to two hours of transfer time between the city of Lima and the airport.

Day 2: LIMA - PUERTO MALDONADO - AMAZON JUNGLE LODGE

You will transfer to the airport for the flight to Pto. Maldonado, hub of the easternmost region of the Peru Amazon. From here you board a canoe for your 45-minute trip downriver to reach the lodge. You’ll get settled in your accommodations and then be welcomed with an orientation, before starting your Amazon adventure. (B,L,D)

Day 3: AMAZON JUNGLE LODGE

During your stay, you will select your itinerary from a range of day and evening expeditions, accompanied by bilingual naturalist guides, on land and water, including canopy walks, dugout canoe trips and rainforest hikes. (B,L,D)

Day 4: AMAZON JUNGLE LODGE - PUERTO MALDONADO - CUSCO

Make an early departure down the river to Pto. Maldonado and then transfer to the airport for the short flight to colonial Cusco, in the heart of the Inca Empire. On the way to your hotel, Southern Explorations guides will take you on a quick tour of picturesque Plaza de Armas. After check-in, you will have the rest of the day free to relax and adjust to the altitude (10,856 ft). (B)

Day 5: CUSCO

A guided walking tour through the colorful markets of Cusco, the colonial cathedral, and Koricancha, the impressive Temple of the Sun, starts the day. After a lunch of excellent local cuisine, take an afternoon tour of temples and other important Inca sights in the vicinity of Cusco, including: the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, with its megalithic stone terraces; Kenko, with its carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the small fortress of Puka Pukara that protected the royal capital from attacks; and the water temple, Tambo Machay. Return to the comfort of your hotel in the late afternoon with time to relax or explore Cusco on your own. (B)

Day 6: CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY

Learn about the history of the Sacred Valley on a day-long guided tour, visiting the picturesque Pisac textiles market and the nearby Inca ruins. After lunch head for Ollantaytambo (9,185 feet), a small town with an impressive Inca fortress, where you'll spend the night at a local hotel. (B,L)

Day 7: SACRED VALLEY - OLLANTAYTAMBO - MACHU PICCHU

Begin the day with a filling breakfast at the hotel and a guided walking tour of the Ollantaytambo ruins and town. Head to the Ollantaytambo train station mid-morning for your picturesque train to Aguas Calientes. The scenery during the two-hour ride through the Urubamba gorge is a collage of mountain vegetation and cloud forest. After a delicious lunch in town, a bus ride will bring you to the mountain citadel of Machu Picchu (7,875 feet), for a full-day guided tour. You will then return to nearby Aguas Calientes in the late afternoon to spend the night. (B)

Day 8: MACHU PICCHU – CHINCHERO ARTISAN MARKET - CUSCO

Today you have the option of rising early rise to get some early morning photographs of Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive or sleep in and explore the village. Up at the ruins you can also hike to the Temple of the Moon, the Sun Gate, or Huayna Picchu. Return to town for lunch and your early afternoon train that will take you back to Ollantaytambo. Here, meet your driver and travel to the cooperative Chinchero Textile Market known for some of the best textiles in Peru. The local artisans will explain the process and traditions of their beautiful craft and you will have time for last minute shopping. Transfer back to your Cusco hotel. (B)

Day 9: CUSCO - LAKE TITICACA

Embark over the altiplano (high plains) onboard a bus for a full day of high altitude views. Reach Puno, along the shores of Lake Titicaca. Transfer to hotel. Travel Cusco to Puno via bus at no extra charge or upgrade to a short flight to Juliaca for an additional $150. (B) 

Day 10: LAKE TITICACA

In the morning, take a short drive to Puno harbor for an 8:00 AM departure across the intensely blue lake by boat, stopping briefly at the famous floating Uros Islands before continuing on to peaceful Taquile Island. Here you'll visit a community of male weavers and spinners who live in a Mediterranean-like setting. In the late afternoon, return to explore the shops and markets of Puno, reputedly Peru's best place to buy alpaca clothing. (B, L) Lake Titicaca, the legendary birthplace of the first Incan emperor, is South America's largest freshwater lake, extending across the border with Bolivia. It is the remnant of an ancient inland sea, one of just seventeen such lakes remaining in the world.

Day 11: LAKE TITICACA - LIMA - HOME

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel on this relaxing free morning before going to the outskirts of Puno to see the mysterious pre-Inca ruins called chullpas including those on a peninsula in Lake Umayo at Sillustani, set against the stark altiplano landscape. These giant cylindrical funerary towers are where the Colla people (a warrior tribe that spoke Aymara) buried their elite. Some as tall as 40 feet with exquisite stonemasonry, these structures are considered by many archaeologists and historians to be more complex and superior even to Inca engineering. Later in the afternoon you fly to Lima to catch your connecting international flight home, marking the end of Southern Explorations’ services. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Peru is a diverse country. With beaches, mountains, rainforest and desert, there is no off-season. But it does pay to know a bit about where you're going, and what you'll need on your Peru tour:

The Andes - Though officially part of the dry season, April and May are considered the Andean spring, while June through October marks the Andean summer. Mid-day temperatures range from 70 to 80 F in the sun. Nighttime temperatures in Cusco range in the 40s F and can dip into the 30s F. Weather is usually clear in the morning with clouds accumulating in the afternoon. Rain can happen in any season, so quality rain gear is essential.

The Amazon - A rainforest environment, the Peruvian Amazon has varied weather conditions and frequent unpredictable rain showers. It is generally hot and humid during the day with more comfortable temperatures through the night. Daytime high temperatures average between 82° and 93° F, and the average nighttime low is between 62° and 73°. Nevertheless, in some areas cold fronts can sweep into the Amazon and push daytime high temperatures down to 50° F and nighttime lows to 43° F. Any time of year, one should always be prepared for cooler temperatures and rain showers. Around 80% of the annual average 79 inches of rainfall occurs during the rainy season (December through March) when heavy rain may continue for hours or days.

Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

LIMA

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN68-790.0
FEB69-800.0
MAR69-800.0
APR67-760.0
MAY63-720.0
JUN61-690.1
JUL60-670.2
AUG60-660.1
SEP60-670.1
OCT60-690.1
NOV62-720.0
DEC64-760.0

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

CUSCO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN44-656.3
FEB44-655.2
MAR43-664.3
APR41-671.8
MAY39-670.3
JUN33-660.1
JUL32-660.2
AUG35-670.3
SEP39-680.9
OCT42-691.9
NOV43-693.1
DEC44-694.7

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

PUNO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN38-625.2
FEB38-624.3
MAR38-623.8
APR33-621.5
MAY25-620.4
JUN19-610.1
JUL18-610.1
AUG22-630.2
SEP29-640.8
OCT33-651.5
NOV35-662.0
DEC37-643.6

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

PUERTO MALDONADO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN71-8813.6
FEB70-8712.8
MAR70-8811.9
APR69-876.1
MAY66-864.2
JUN63-842.3
JUL62-852.2
AUG64-882.5
SEP66-903.9
OCT69-906.5
NOV70-899.3
DEC70-8812.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


 

Maps

Peru Highlights

Pricing
Per Person
$3,260


Upgrade: +$150 Flight to Lake Titicaca (Cusco - Juliaca)

Domestic Airfare:
$550 (Lima/Pto. Maldonado/Cusco - Juliaca/Lima) – Subject to change

Single Supplement: $905
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.

Included in tour cost
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)

Peru Highlights

Trip Dates
Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Friday, August 18, 2017 to Monday, August 28, 2017
Available
Friday, September 15, 2017 to Monday, September 25, 2017
Available
Friday, October 13, 2017 to Monday, October 23, 2017
Available
Friday, November 3, 2017 to Monday, November 13, 2017
Available
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Monday, December 11, 2017
Available
Friday, January 5, 2018 to Monday, January 15, 2018
Available
Friday, February 16, 2018 to Monday, February 26, 2018
Available
Friday, March 9, 2018 to Monday, March 19, 2018
Available
Friday, March 30, 2018 to Monday, April 9, 2018
Available
Friday, May 11, 2018 to Monday, May 21, 2018
Available
Friday, June 1, 2018 to Monday, June 11, 2018
Available
Friday, July 13, 2018 to Monday, July 23, 2018
Available
Friday, August 17, 2018 to Monday, August 27, 2018
Available
Friday, September 14, 2018 to Monday, September 24, 2018
Available
Friday, October 12, 2018 to Monday, October 22, 2018
Available
Friday, November 2, 2018 to Monday, November 12, 2018
Available
Friday, November 30, 2018 to Monday, December 10, 2018
Available
Aguas Calientes
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Lake Titicaca
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Amazon
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cusco
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Lima
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Sacred Valley
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Our trip was amazing! All of our guides were friendly and professional. Our guide’s knowledge and communication skills were exceptional! He was a fabulous tour guide and we really enjoyed hiking the Inca Trail with him. We always had the best campsites – other hikers were often jealous of where our camp was set up and would ask which company was handling our trip.   Our guides were excellent on the rafting trip. We had never been through class V rapids before so I was a little hesitant at first; but, our guides were so skilled, we always felt completely safe. Chef’s cooking was fantastic! I’m not sure what I expected but I did not expect three course meals every night while camping. On the rafting trip, they noticed I don’t eat many grains and mostly eat meat and dairy foods so the chef brought more meat along on the Inca Trail than usual to make sure I was ok. I never mention it in the special requests because I don’t expect it to be accommodated, and I always carry lots of protein bars with me so it’s not an issue – I do appreciate the extra effort they made and the food was excellent!   -Jerri Lipple, Texas (Peru & Amazon)


Overall a great experience! Have already started to think about Patagonia!!!!   - Barry Tereshkow, California (Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca)


We would highly recommend Southern Explorations for their professional and thorough operation. Our trip was "smooth", well-paced and incredible! Our guides spoke outstanding English, and were informative and friendly - we thoroughly enjoyed each of them as individuals. Drivers were prompt and skilled. The itinerary was packed literally with "the best of Peru", providing enough time to see everything with no wasted time. Thanks it was a great experience. - Alan and Lindy Jones, Canada (Peru)


 

We had a wonderful trip, such a journey to Machu Picchu and we enjoyed every single minute of it. Our guide from Cusco onward, Juan, was very informative and interesting and really made the entire trip very exciting. We enjoyed our time alone in each city and then also our excursions during the day with Juan. There was so much to see. Thanks so much for arranging our trip and getting us the best possible of everything. I was happy we did a private tour. I will continue recommending your company to people. - Leslie Williams, California (Machu Picchu)


I thoroughly enjoyed my travel experience with Southern Explorations! I would recommend you and travel with your tour group again. - Nancy Sing-Bock, New York (Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca)


Our Luxury Peru trip was wonderful. We had a wonderful guide, Juan who relayed the history and culture to us, was energetic and really made the trip go smoothly. Peru is a fabulous country – we loved our lodging, the food, the sights, everything. This was a trip for my mom who is 83 and always wanted to see Machu Picchu. The guides were so attentive to her and assisted her in seeing every sight we visited. She says it was the best trip of her life. I can’t wait to go back to Peru. - Sue Strater, Oregon (Peru)



Thank you for your services in organizing our trip to Peru/Machu Picchu. The trip went smoothly and we are very satisfied with all aspects of the trip. I appreciate the professional staff we worked with in Peru to ensure our good health and safety. In Lima, Giovanna was a wonderful guide and accommodated our special requests without question. We sincerely thank her for giving us a look at local Peruvian life, not just the tourist view. She is a great asset to your organization. In Cusco, Augusto our guide and Claudio our driver were very professional and I am most appreciative of their concern for our good health and safety. Augusto is very knowledgeable, and we gained a great deal of history and information from him. Claudio was kind enough to allow us our special requests. - Nicole Peterson, California (Peru & Machu Picchu)


Thank you, Southern Explorations, for a wonderful trip. We'd been looking forward to seeing Machu Picchu for years, yet despite all of that anticipation what you delivered somehow still exceeded our expectations. Thank you not only to Chenna – the best guide on the planet – but also to all the people who worked quietly in the background to make this such a memorable trip for us.   - Gordon McConnell (Peru)


We travel a great deal. We believe that Southern Explorations stands at the top of our experience in its focus on the customer. In addition to a superb job of organizing a trip and attention to details, were most impressed with the way that the US and Peru-based staffs made extraordinary efforts to work with our family. This included making sure our son was safe to eat the foods (due to his food allergies), to adding on specific excursions to a small village of weavers and arranging a bike tour, to the ability of the local guides to get to know us as people, not just to conduct the guided tour. This made for a rich and worthwhile experience. Keep it up! The ultimate compliment in this world is whether we would call again to arrange a trip to another country. The answer is a definite Yes. - The Gilman Family (Peru)



Southern Explorations provides perfectly organized excursions featuring a well-balanced mixture of learning and hiking in very small groups. I enjoyed every moment of my Peru trip; I am fascinated by the Inca Empire and the mind-blowing landscape. I highly recommend Southern Explorations. - Sven Zuehlsdorf (Peru)


The whole trip was perfect. After all of the wedding planning and the wedding itself, it was awesome to have this trip where we did so much but never had to really think or stress about planning, travel, communicating with locals, etc. It was exactly the honeymoon we wanted. Thanks so much to everyone at SE who helped to make it happen!   -John Gaetzi, Colorado (Peru)


This was our second trip with Southern Explorations. Again, every element was perfect. Our guides were knowledgeable and attentive. The accomadations were superb. The itinerary was varied and fascinating. You think of every detail. We loved learning about the culture and history of different parts of Peru. We also had a chance to challenge ourselves by hiking to the top of Huayna Picchu and slogging through the mud in the Amazon. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to visit the village of Huilloc and see their beautiful textiles. We were thrilled to give them the books that we had collected for their school. Again, thank you for another amazing trip. - Chris Howard (Peru & Amazon)


Our guides were all organized, professional, extremely informative and passionate. Most highly recommended. Organization was flawless. Guides exceptionally helpful and informative. - Ronald Shapiro (Best of Peru)


We have never traveled using a travel company before but felt it would be a good idea going to Peru. So glad we did! This was the best trip of our lives! Southern Explorations uses very knowledgeable, friendly, and patient guides. We had to change our itinerary while on the trip and the company handled everything perfectly. I highly recommend them to anyone traveling out of the country. - Laurie Key, Utah (Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca)


Even more impressed with our second SE trip than our first. A minor injury (twisted ankle) precluded the planned arduous hike for the day - instead of just telling us to hang out at the hotel (what we expected), the guide on her own called her boss asking for clearance to change the itinerary to a visit to an equally interesting site which consisted of a drive and just minimal walking. This change represented greater cost for SE but saved the day for us. A wonderful, thoughtful way of proving the goal is to create a memorable trip. - Andre Lucio Denis (Peru Day Hiker)

 


We had a wonderful time!  Absolutely a life memory and highlight! Thank you for ALL your help – of course, we gave Southern Explorations five stars in all categories! Your last minute tips on traveling were especially helpful. Thank you again. Meg and Bruce Cummings (Luxury Peru & Amazon)
 

Our guide was absolutely fantastic. She made this a memorable experience. Billy Chiquito, a National Park guide, was more than we could have imagined for a guide. All accommodations were first class. - Howard Flicker (Private Experience Machu Picchu and Legend)
Southern Explorations did a phenomenal job with our vacation in Peru. The travel arrangements were great, the guides very well informed and an extremely well organized trip overall. They even went above and beyond to help us locate and get our lost baggage from Lima to Arequipa. We sure look forward to another trip with them. - Prashant Bhandare, USA (Amazon, Machu Picchu & Arequipa)

Great trip. Extremely well done. Very interesting, good value, very efficient. All guides were great. Hotels were good and the guides worked with us. I didn’t like some of the steep drop offs on the ledges at the sites and Jose stayed between me and the edge so I could get down. Everyone was great. - Donna Lee, USA (Machu Picchu)

Extremely well organized and informative adventure. Guides and local representatives made us feel very comfortable in a strange land. Would highly recommend this trip and Southern Explorations. - Steve Greenwood, USA (Peru)

Just returned from a 12 day trip to Peru and have to say this was the best vacation ever. I have never arranged travel through a company before so I was a little leery about what to expect. Needless to say I was quite impressed by how comprehensive and well planned every detail of the trip was put together. Southern Explorations did an amazing job especially considering I only booked the trip one month in advance. Our guide in Lima, Natalia was excellent and very knowledgeable. Our guide in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Washington Gibaja Tapia was incredible. He shared a part of his culture and community with us on a deep spiritual level so we were able to leave Peru feeling like we understood the significance and true beauty of the place and people we visited. Thank you Southern Explorations for a trip of a lifetime. - Michelle Barker (Inti Raymi Festival & Machu Picchu & Amazon)

The trip was an amazing once in a life time experience. Juan took us through the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu. He was an excellent and very knowledgable guide. The trip was well organized and the Hotel accommodations exceeded my expectations.  - Paul Demarco, USA (Inca Trail, Machu Picchu & Wayna Picchu)


This is our second trip arranged by Southern Explorations. Our first was to the Galapagos, which was exceptional as well.  We’ve pretty much run out of superlatives to describe our adventures!   We have found Southern Exploration – your Seattle staff, the guides you use, the drivers, the tours, the arrangements, etc, all to be wonderful!  Thank you! - Joseph Wright, USA (Short Inca Trail)


All the guides were great. Hotels were all very nice. Great experience all round. We will be back for another tour with your company. - Lisa Gumpel (Peru Highlights)

The guides were wonderful. All guides spent a lot of time explaining the culture and history of this fascinating country. This was the trip of a lifetime. We enjoyed every minute. - Leslie Klaff (Best of Peru)

Trip of a life time; good outfitter and good friends. - Carol Croom (Classic Inca Trail)
Our guide was exceptional!!! She was so knowledgeable and accommodating to our needs. I've traveled around the world, and I don't think I've had a better guide. - Christina Trunz (Experience Machu Picchu)
 

 
Peru - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer a wide variety of itineraries suitable for all ages, fitness levels and personal interests. Figuring out the total number of days you are available to travel is a good starting point and your Adventure Travel Coordinator can guide you through the options.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to modify any tour to meet your needs and also add pre and post-excursion extensions. If you sign up for a group departure we cannot change the group portion, but we can add extensions before and after.
Q: When is the best time to go to Peru?
A: Many travelers like to visit Peru between the months of April and October, when the chances of rain are much lower. Avoid the height of summer (June through August) and the Christmas holiday season for smaller crowds and the best selection of accommodations.
Q: What is the weather like in Peru?
A: The most traveled section of Peru, where Cusco and Machu Picchu are located, has a dry season (April – October) and a rainy season (November – March) with daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 40s. Rainfall and temperatures vary in other regions depending on season and elevation. Please see the weather tab on your specific trip for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like in Peru? 
A: A typical day in Peru will vary from tour to tour, but generally you can expect to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. Contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator to discuss the specifics of your tour.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Peru? 
A: Our trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. It’s important to keep in mind that much of Peru is at or above 8000’ above sea level which can add some difficulty to the activities. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Peru?
A: We offer trips as short as 5 days, but recommend 7 days to adequately explore the Andean highlands (Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu). If you wish to visit more than one region, we recommend travelling for at least 12 days.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: Peru is a popular destination and space at the most desirable hotels fills up quickly. As a rule, the further in advance you can plan, the more options you will have. We recommend planning at least six to nine months in advance throughout the year, and a year ahead of time for anything over the Christmas holiday season.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We hire only guides who are native to the destination and are licensed and/or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English, and some also speak indigenous languages. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: We primarily work with 3 and 4-star hotels that meets our standards. We also work with several amazing 5-star properties. All of our hotels are clean, comfortable, well-located, offer en suite bathrooms and have been personally vetted by a Southern Explorations’ staff member.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: We will confirm all airfare within South America and this price will be listed separately from our base tour costs. You are responsible for booking international flights to/from Peru.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: We operate our scheduled group trips with a minimum of two and a maximum of eight guests, except on the Inca Trail trips, which have a maximum of 12 guests. This policy minimizes our environmental impact, allows us to travel to areas less visited, and makes the sightseeing experience more personal. It allows our guides sufficient time to attend to the individual needs of each visitor. Traveling in small groups also increases the likelihood of encountering wildlife in some areas, such as the Amazon. Some all-inclusive lodges and cruises offer excursions with their in-house guides and groups for those days may exceed eight travelers.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.