From archeological wonders that have withstood the test of time to verdant rainforest and sparkling beaches, this South American country has something for everyone. Check out our list of the Top 10 Destinations in Peru to discover new places to explore.1. Machu PicchuDon’t miss a chance to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World – head to Machu Picchu to see some of the most remarkable and well...
Thinking you’d like to do something a little different for your next trip to Latin America? Want to experience the next destination on your list from an alternative angle? Then we’ve got you covered.  Want an example? How about our SUP (that’s Stand-up Paddle Boarding) Galapagos trip! You may recall, last year we teamed up with SUP Magazine for a very special, custom-designed, 9...
The history of women in Peru is not a simple straight-line narrative. It is a complex, intertwined, multi-cultural story across the centuries that continues to evolve and progress, from ancient traditions to modern thinking. It’s a story still being uncovered and understood by archaeologists. It’s a story being experienced by the more than 15 million women who live in Peru today. It’s a story...
We've unveiled our newest group trip: Peru Women’s Adventure. This all-women special departure explores Peru for an 8-day adventure guided exclusively by Peruvian women. It brings together like-minded women to travel through the heart of the Andes together from Lima to Machu Picchu, exploring archeological sites, tasting the tropical fruits, seafood and sweets in the market, hiking, walking, talking and...
We are listeners. It’s an important skill for trip creators to have. And not just before your trip, when, of course, it’s important for our team of Latin America travel specialists to listen closely in order to build your ideal customized travel itinerary attuned to your interests and schedule, but also after your travel experience with Southern Explorations. We love feedback. We love hearing from...
  Of course you want to see the great icons. We understand. They’re iconic for a reason. Machu Picchu is rightfully entrenched in travelers’ minds as a must-see locale because it’s an incredible place to experience. But it’s far from the only awe-inspiring historic site in Peru, simply the best known. So if you’re ready to dig into some of Peru’s less explored and...
If you’ve always dreamed of witnessing penguins in the wild, then our team of Latin America travel experts has you covered. While Antarctica is famously the best place to go if you’re looking for the ultimate penguin trip, there’s also no shortage of opportunities to do some penguin watching everywhere from the Galapagos Islands all the way through Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In...
  This past week you may have noticed penguins taking over your Instagram or Twitter feed as World Penguin Day was celebrated on April 25th and proved once again that pretty much everyone, everywhere loves penguins. Penguins are without a doubt the most sought after wildlife viewing experience we offer at Southern Explorations, and it’s no mystery as to why. Across the 17 species of penguins,...
Yes, it feels like 2018 just started, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about your 2019 Latin America travel plans! In fact, for some of our trips, if you don’t start planning now, you’ll miss out entirely, especially if you’re thinking of exploring South America in 2019 on a Southern Explorations luxury trip, particularly Luxury Patagonia. Our custom...
The Inca Trail is a legendary hike that leads to Machu Picchu through the mountains and cloud forests of the Peruvian Andes. Only travelers with the Inca Trail travel permit are allowed on the trail. Permits for the Inca Trail have gone on sale a full three months early for 2018. Southern Explorations encourages travelers to book next year's trips to Peru now before the trail permits sell out.The Inca...
It was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America and some archaeologists speculate it might well have been the largest empire anywhere on the planet in the 16th century. It was also the last chapter of thousands of years of Andean civilization. From 1483 to 1533, across a large portion of western South America, from Colombia, down through Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina, centered largely around the...
Our team of Latin America travel experts take great pride in expertly crafting intricate and exceptionally well-executed revelatory travel experiences. But sometimes even we take a step back and marvel at the duration, breadth, complexity, and variety of experiences baked into the itineraries some of our guests have us build for them. We’re talking about the kinds of trips that get multiple team members...
If you’ve traveled with us before, you know that one of the defining elements of our trips is taking our guests off the beaten path, no matter the destination you’re exploring. With that in mind we want to take you even further off the well-trodden trail as our team of Latin America travel experts give you the heads up on some of our most underrated trip itineraries. Ecuador Hiking Adventure - Savvy...
Justin Laycob, Founder and CEO of Southern Explorations was studying Spanish and – like many students pursuing a degree in a foreign language – was slated to spend a semester abroad to really dig into the language. The University of Oregon had set him up with an exchange placement in Spain when – as fate would have it - a well-timed envelope from friends in the Southern Hemisphere sent his...
 Are you looking to challenge yourself, push the limits, and get your adrenaline up while exploring Latin America? Then you’re in luck.  Our team of travel experts came together to create a list of some of the most thrilling and boundary-pushing experiences and attractions in all of South America. White Water Rafting - The Futaleufú River, Chile The name Futaleufú is an indigenous Mapuche...
Easter egg hunts. It's a tradition dating back hundreds of years. The idea of searching for vibrant, colorful treats hidden away from sight has delighted children and adults alike for centuries.It’s a concept we’re very familiar with at Southern Explorations because it's the idea behind each one of our Latin America travel experiences. The destinations we explore are packed with travel Easter...
It’s no secret that Latin America’s landscapes are the ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers. Ancient ruins, active volcanoes, glacial lakes, friendly locals and countless waterfalls are just a few reasons why hikers should consider Latin America for their next trek – and it doesn’t need to be Machu Picchu. We rounded up our team’s favorite under the...
Women sort potatoes in the Andes Mountains near Cusco, Peru. The early cultivation of potatoes may have been part of a larger shift from hunting and gathering toward farming and herding. Credit Thomas O'Neill/NurPhoto, via Getty Images. Article first posted on By STEPH YIN NOV. 18, 2016.  Nobody knows precisely what the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving feast looked like. According to primary sources,...
 Trip Advisor is one of the best-known and trusted travel resources worldwide, and every year they turn to millions of travelers to vote on the best of the best for the Travelers’ Choice Awards. We weren’t surprised to see many of our favorite Latin American destinations grab the spotlight for must-see landmarks, destinations, beaches, restaurants, and destinations on the rise in the 2016 Award...
Learn to tango on the streets of Buenos Aires, follow your stomach through Lima’s booming culinary scene, or watch the world’s best athletes live from the stands during the Olympics in Rio. Our team of travel experts have scoured the continent and picked the top five festivals you have to get to this summer - from sport enthusiasts to foodies, Latin America has a little something for everyone. 1)...
What Is A Multisport Adventure Trip?
As the name implies, multisport itineraries are active and most days are spent on one or more excursions that require at least moderate exertion. They usually involve a combination of different activities rather than focusing on just one. For many outings, guides transport passengers from their hotel to a trailhead or put-in at a river for a whitewater rafting trip. On others,...
SOUTHERN EXPLORATIONS 10 YEARS OLD AND GROWING!2015 marks Southern Explorations’ 10th year in business. What started as a two-person operation in a garage has grown into a company with destination coordinators in several countries, customers from throughout the world and awards from the national travel media for our authentic trips and sustainability values. Southern Explorations has become one of the leaders...
Peru, the third largest country in South America and the nineteenth largest in the world, is slightly smaller than Alaska.With forty mountains higher than 19,000 feet, the country is a hiker's paradise. Its whitewater-rafting routes travel through idyllic scenery, from the Andes to the Amazon, and through two canyons twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Peru's reputation as a surfing mecca is growing. Now...
Lake Titicaca is one of South America’s top tourist attractions due to its mesmerizing sapphire beauty and intriguing culture. Whether adventure traveler, cultural history buff or photographer, inquisitive travelers find Lake Titicaca to be an unforgettable experience. Pristine and vast,Lake Titicaca sits majestically at 12,500 feet above sea level on the high elevation altiplano. It is the...
PisacWe visit two important Andean markets on our Peru tours. The best known is Pisac. A famed hill town, Pisac is a great place to purchase top quality Andean knitwear at lower prices than visitors will find in major cities during their travel to Peru. Pisac is located about forty-five minutes north of Cusco by car. A craft market is held here on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Woven blankets, tapestries and alpaca...
Lake Titicaca - The SettingLake Titicaca is surrounded by the barren landscape of the Altiplano, a high plain that starts at the northern border of Peru and stretches south through the Andes, ending at the world's highest volcano, the Ojos del Salado. One of seventeen remaining ancient lakes in the world, Lake Titicaca is thought to be three million years old, a remnant of Lago Ballivian, an inland sea that...
Reading about and preparing for your adventure is half the fun. For more book suggestions go to Peru
  Head north, south or west of Lake Titicaca when you travel to Peru, and you will be surrounded by the soft, wooly creatures that provide the fleece for those divine alpaca sweaters. The alpaca farms of Peru are found primarily in Peru’s southern highlands, home to most of the world’s alpacas. Though Peru’s major commercial alpaca operations are run by large land owners, the herds themselves...
  Beyond the contribution of nutrition and adequate care of alpacas to maintain healthy herds, breeding practices are at the heart of what goes into making alpaca fleece soft. The science of alpaca breeding employs several different methods, ranging from inbreeding to breeding unrelated animals, all for the purpose of improving the fleece quality of future generations. Using a mix of alpaca genetics and breeder...
Could there be a more perfectly created yarn than alpaca? Less expensive than vicuna yet softer than cashmere, warmer, stronger and more lightweight than sheep’s wool, alpaca fleece makes durable garments, perfect for layering in cold mountain temperatures, not to mention making a unique souvenir for travelers on Peru tours. Because alpaca fleece contains no lanolin or scales, it can be worn by those allergic...
When your Peru tours take you to Arequipa, you will have arrived at the center of the world’s alpaca industry. Much of the fleece sheared raised on the alpacas of Peru’s altiplano is shipped to the major processing mills in and around Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city. Many who travel to Peru never make it as far as this attractive, colonial city in the south. That is changing now that eco-...
With forty mountains higher than 19,000 feet, the country is a hiker's paradise. Its whitewater-rafting routes travel through idyllic scenery, from the Andes to the Amazon, and through two canyons twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Peru's reputation as a surfing mecca is growing. Now the site of international surfing competitions, the region's uncrowded beaches please professional and vacationing surfers alike....
In the City Of LimaThere is much to experience in the capital for visitors on Peru tours. The country's national symphony orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional, is considered one of the premier orchestras in Latin America. Bullfights are held at the Plaza de Acho ring starting in July. Popular evening pastimes include the penas, bars that feature late night floor shows of performers in flashy costumes dancing...
The center of the Inca universeThe Inca Trail, the hidden city of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca all bring the Inca Empire to life for visitors on Peru tours. Here tourists learn first hand about the Incas' sophisticated engineering, hydraulics and agricultural techniques by viewing the Incan ruins along the Urubamba River Valley, an area that between Cusco and Machu Picchu is called the...
The CitiesThe Amazon is dotted with riverside villages, indigenous settlements and few population centers of any magnitude. The region’s largest city is the port of Iquitos, with a population of 400,000, located over 2,000 miles inland from the Atlantic. Offering a convenient base for river and rainforest travels, eco-lodge accommodations here range from basic to luxury. The region's inaccessibility more or...
Terrain and WeatherThe region is mostly desert terrain, including 800 miles of coastline and the 72,000-sq mile Sechura Desert between Piura and Chiclayo. In places, the Andes and the Pacific meet. Though coastal weather is pleasant year-round and usually sunny, most visitors prefer the summer months, starting in November and ending in May. Surfers on Peru tours will have to choose between warmer temperatures and...
Terrain and WeatherPeru's southern coast is desert terrain. There is more variation inland where deserts are interspersed with fertile valleys, gorges, mountains and plateaus. The coastline has a dry year-round climate and is sunniest from December through March. From May to October, the garua mists enshroud the southern coast. As one travels inland, the desert temperatures go from hot to hotter. May to November...
Terrain and WeatherIn northern Peru, the Andes divide into three ranges, the Cordillera Occidental, near the coast, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental, splitting into more ranges, most predominantly, the Cordillera Blanca where Peru’s highest peak, 22,205-ft Mt. Huascaran is found, and the Cordillera Negra. On the west, the region is comprised of these towering peaks of the Andean ranges,...
Terrain and WeatherThe northern reaches of the region are mountainous with glacial valleys, high plateaus, temperate cloud forests, semi-tropical valleys and central jungle. The canyon areas have dry days and cold nights; if it's going to rain, it will likely do so in January and February, and nights are coldest from June to August. On the lower eastern slopes of the Andes, temperatures are mild but humid and rainy...
The SettingLake Titicaca is surrounded by the barren landscape of the Altiplano, a high plain that starts at the northern border of Peru and stretches south through the Andes, ending at the world's highest volcano, the Ojos del Salado. One of seventeen remaining ancient lakes in the world, Lake Titicaca is thought to be three million years old, a remnant of Lago Ballivian, an inland sea that disappeared amid the...
Pisac The Sacred Valley Often travelers begin their visit to the Sacred Valley in Pisac, a colonial town 19 miles north of Cusco that is famous for its ruins and its large market, attracting artisans from throughout the region. A pleasant walk takes visitors to the ruins of agricultural terraces, rooms, temples and ceremonial baths as well as views of hundreds of tombs carved out of cliffs. Ollantaytambo The Sacred...
The eco-business of whale watching in Peru is in its infancy. Though dolphins are more likely to be seen around Lima than are baleens, humpbacks pass by Lima in November and again in July. On the north coast, humpbacks start arriving in June and stay until October or November to breed and give birth. The top spots include Los Organos where they may be seen from land or sea. A great base for your northern region...
The species burrows to nest, laying up to three eggs that are tended equally. Because of the temperate climate where the Humboldt breeds, the species does not have as distinct a breeding season as Antarctic penguins. The male and female alternate time on the nest, and chicks are born after about forty days. Depending on the current for food, the Humboldt spends less time in off-shore waters than other species,...
PisacWe visit two important Andean markets on our Peru tours. The best known is Pisac. A famed hill town, Pisac is a great place to purchase top quality Andean knitwear at lower prices than visitors will find in major cities during their travel to Peru. Pisac is located about forty-five minutes north of Cusco by car. A craft market is held here on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Woven blankets, tapestries and alpaca...
With the arrival of the Spanish, sheep and the treadle loom were introduced to Taquile, still the mainstay of the island’s textiles industry today. Weaving responsibilities are divided by gender. Men weave many of the garments and knit the chullo caps. Women have carved out certain niches of their own. The traditional belt, called a chumpi, with an intricate row of designs, often flora, fauna or geometric, is...
So revered was the vicuna during Incan times that only royalty were allowed to wear garments made of the animal’s fleece. The penalty for anyone else doing so was death. Vicunas were protected, sheared, accounted for and then released back into the wild. When the Incas recognized that escape was their only means of surviving the advancing conquistadors, they fled but not before burning what was most valuable...
The 158,000-acre Calipuy National Reserve is located in La Libertad Department in the northern highlands of Peru, northwest of Huascaran National Park between the cities of Chimbote and Trujillo. The reserve is adjacent to the 11,120-acre Calipuy National Sanctuary. The areas are used primarily for environmental research rather than attracting many visitors on Peru tours. Any travelers who do visit the areas of Peru...
Vicunas are found in such locations as the popular trekking destination of Huascaran National Park in the Cordillera Blanca. Travelers who come here for some unforgettable hiking in Peru will see vicunas roaming the hillsides. Southern Explorations offers a ten-day Cordillera Blanca Hike Peru trip that visits the park. Another scenic location where vicunas are likely to be spotted is on the way to Lake Titicaca from...
Established in 1965, the Pampa Galeras-Barbara D’Achille National Reserve comprises 16,000 acres of habitat for the species. From here, vicunas have been moved back into other areas of their previous range. This first of Peru’s vicuna reserves is located fifty miles east of Nazca, a popular destination for visitors who include Peru tours here to see the mysterious lines etched on the hillsides. After...
The chacu method turns villagers into a human fence to herd the animals. In Peru, most of the fleece profits are retained by indigenous shearing cooperatives rather than the mills that process the fleece, though the number of animals and amount of fleece is small in many villages. Garments made from fleece derived by the government-sanctioned chacus are so indicated on the label. Chacus have reduced the profit from...