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We have assembled five days of Peru tours to make a week-long Machu Picchu vacation possible or to pair the legendary destination with other South American sights for a longer trip. The travel to Peru begins and ends in Lima, a charming city with a rich cultural heritage and growing gastronomic reputation. To make the most of your time in the Inca heartland, we’ll get you around by train and private vans. On the way to Machu Picchu, you’ll spend a day exploring the major colonial and indigenous sights of Cusco and travel through the Incas’ Sacred Valley, stopping at the market town of Pisac and staying in the indigenous hill town of Ollantaytambo. Whether you can spare a week or many, this Peru tour is a handy way to fit Machu Picchu into your travel plans.

 

Itinerary
DAY 1 ARRIVE LIMA

On arrival in lima, you will be transferred from the airport to your hotel. If you fly in early, we can arrange optional tours to explore the city, including museum visits and other sites of interest.

DAY 2 LIMA - CUSCO

In the morning you will be taken to the airport for your flight to Cusco, center of the Inca Empire. Southern Explorations' guides will pick you up at the airport, stopping for a quick tour of the colonial Plaza de Armas before taking you to your hotel to check in. After lunch on your own, you will spend the afternoon touring prominent Inca sights in and around Cusco. You'll see Sacsayhuamán, a fortress with megalithic stone terraces; the carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars of Kenko; the small Puka Pukara fortress that protected the royal capital; and the water temple, Tambo Machay. In the late afternoon you are returned to your hotel to spend the rest of the day and evening relaxing or exploring Cusco’s fascinating mix of cultures on your own. Overnight at a Cusco hotel. (B)

DAY 3 CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY

After breakfast and checking out, your day-long guided excursion begins. You’ll pass through snowcapped mountains to reach the renowned Sacred Valley of the Incas, along the way observing Inca terracing that climbs steep valley walls and the ruined temples of Pisac with panoramic views of the jagged granite peaks. You’ll stop in the nearby town of Pisac for lunch and visit its textile market, one of the best in the Andes where visitors find one-of-a-kind souvenirs at bargain prices and learn about the local culture. The next stop is Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.), a small town with an impressive Inca fortress. Spend the night at a hotel in Ollantaytambo. (B)

DAY 4 OLLANTAYTAMBO - MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO

This is the day that you’ve been waiting for—your Machu Picchu tour. After breakfast at the hotel, you depart from the Ollantaytambo train station on the first leg of your Machu Picchu adventure. The train makes its way along the Urubamba River, traveling into a magnificent cloud forest. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, a bus will be waiting to take you the rest of the way to Machu Picchu (7,875 feet). Spend a glorious day here, exploring and learning about the famous ruins from your knowledgeable guide. Afterwards, return to nearby Aguas Calientes to board the train back to Ollantaytambo. From the train station, a private van takes you into Cusco to relax and enjoy one last evening here on your own. Overnight at your Cusco hotel. (B)
 
*Optional Hike*
Huayna Picchu 10AM shift
Hiking Details: 1.25 miles; approximately 2-3 hours hiking, the trail is narrow and very steep
Altitude min/max: from 7,970 ft to 8,835 ft.
 
*Machu Picchu entrance 6AM to 12PM shift
*Extra Machu Picchu entrance 12PM to 17:30 shift

DAY 5 CUSCO - LIMA

You will be taken to the Cusco airport for your return flight to Lima and then make connections to your international flight home or next destination, marking the end of your Machu Picchu tours with Southern Explorations. (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

5 Day

Pricing
Per Person
$2,040


Domestic Airfare:
$375 (Lima/Cusco/Lima) – Subject to change

Single Supplement: $495
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)
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

5 Day

Trip Dates
Private Departures can be arranged. Contact us for details.
Saturday, September 8, 2018 to Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Available
Saturday, October 13, 2018 to Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Available
Saturday, November 3, 2018 to Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Available
Saturday, December 15, 2018 to Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Available
Saturday, January 12, 2019 to Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Available
Saturday, February 9, 2019 to Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Available
Saturday, March 9, 2019 to Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Available
Saturday, April 20, 2019 to Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Available
Saturday, May 11, 2019 to Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Available
Saturday, June 1, 2019 to Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Available
Saturday, July 13, 2019 to Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Available
Saturday, August 3, 2019 to Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Available
Saturday, September 7, 2019 to Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Available
Saturday, October 12, 2019 to Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Available
Saturday, November 2, 2019 to Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Available
Saturday, December 14, 2019 to Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Available
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

machu picchu toursWe just returned from our Galapagos/Machu Picchu trip and I wanted to send you a note to thank you for planning such a phenomenal trip for us! Juan, our guide, and Boris, our driver, were FANTASTIC! The bus we traveled on was much larger than we anticipated and a great way to travel around!  We cannot say enough nice things about Juan and Boris! They were flexible with our schedule, providing extra time to us when we wanted it at the market in Pisac, able to provide other options for us when a planned activity had to be cancelled due to a mudslide, and even stopped on the side of the road for us to grab some cuy (guinea pig being roasted on a stick in this tiny town we were passing through). There is so much more I could say. Trip of a lifetime! I will definitely recommend you to everyone! - Debbie Cohen (Ocean Spray & Machu Picchu)

machu picchu tourIt was GREAT traveling to Peru with Southern Explorations. All the arrangements were done very well, and tour guides have a tremendous knowledge of their culture. They had a willingness to share and really good attitudes. My special THANKS to Patricia, who was our tour guide for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu. She is one of the amazing people I met there. Her enthusiasm and knowledge is great. THANK YOU for such wonderful service, Southern Explorations. - Vandana Bajikar (Machu Picchu)

machu picchu toursSouthern Explorations was very organized and planned an excellent and memorable trip for my family. Thanks for everything. We have already recommended you to our friends! - Jodi Sandler (Machu Picchu)

 

machu picchu tourOur Cusco/Machu Picchu experience was nothing short of FABULOUS. We loved the streets and markets in Cusco, visiting the cathedrals and archeological sites, and our visits in the Sacred Valley before arriving at Machu Picchu. Waiting for the sunrise on our second day at Machu Picchu was one of those priceless moments I shared with my two daughters. Our guide Patricia was knowledgeable and wonderful and a real pleasure to have with us. We were well taken care of from arrival to departure by Southern Explorations, and I have only good things to say about how great this trip was. - Jean Smith, Virginia (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)
 

I just wanted to say thank you for all the coordination and help you and all at Southern Explorations staff did for our trip to Peru. Everything went as planned, all of the accommodations were excellent,  clean comfortable and safe. The two young ladies that picked us up at the airport and took us back to the air port in Lima were so very helpful and nice. Our driver in Cusco, Boris did a great job helping and keeping us safe, great driver. I want to say a very special thank you to our guide Milagros. She is very special, extremely knowledgeable, attentive to the smallest detail, and just the best guide that we have ever had. Thank You for a great trip and memories that will last a lifetime! - David L. Byer (Experience Machu Picchu)


The Experience Machu Picchu journey was a once in a lifetime FAMILY trip!  It well exceeded our expectations.  It had just the right balance of organized excursions versus free time to explore on our own.  The guides were not only informative, but made the journey more enjoyable by their attitude and approach.  I can't say enough good things about Southern Explorations and this experience. - Pete & Jen Castello (Experience Machu Picchu)


 

I just wanted to say thank you for all the coordination and help you and all at Southern Explorations staff did for our trip to Peru. Everything went as planned, all of the accommodations were excellent,  clean comfortable and safe. The two young ladies that picked us up at the airport and took us back to the air port in Lima were so very helpful and nice. Our driver in Cusco, Boris did a great job helping and keeping us safe, great driver. I want to say a very special thank you to our guide Milagros. She is very special, extremely knowledgeable, attentive to the smallest detail, and just the best guide that we have ever had. Thank You for a great trip and memories that will last a lifetime! - David L. Byer (Experience Machu Picchu)


Our guide was great. Made our trip easy and enjoyable. He kept us on schedule without being pushy. He let us have space to spend time together without being absent. He delivered a wealth of great information in an interesting way. He's an all-star all around.  He did a good job allowing us to have more time at the more interesting places and moving us quickly through the interesting but not super interesting places. The accommodations were great. The hotels in Cusco and Ollantytambo were delightful, tasteful, comfortable centrally located and had great service. The hotel in Aguas Caliente was hip and stylish. Great food. The quality and abundance of the food allowed us to see more and do more. The sites were all super interesting. - Ky Calder (Inti Raymi Festival & Machu Picchu)

Antonio was EXCELLENT! Milagros was also very good and attentive. Southern Expeditions is a first-class outfit, perfect for those seeking varied levels of adventure, good value, efficiency and very good accommodations. Elliott Mercer (Custom Machu Picchu with Short Inca Trail Hike)

Our guide was absolutely excellent. Very patient and extremely knowledgeable. Accommodations were adequate. Staff in the hotels in Sacred Valley, Cusco and Lima were very nice. Glenn Braunstein (Custom Machu Picchu with Short Inca Trail Hike)

 

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.