Peru is full of natural wonders, which range from the highest of mountains to the lowest of valleys, and no trip would be complete without a chance to see both. The inclusion of Colca Canyon in this trip is important both because of its impressive depths and because of the presence of Andean Condors, which are enormous birds, with wingspans of over 10ft, and are of enormous cultural importance, especially in legends. This trip reflects the country of Peru as it provides a unique insight into the intersection of culture, history, and environment, with examples all over the country. It visits cities and small villages, tiny island communities and towns tucked deep into the rainforest and perched on top of mountains. This trip provides a complete experience of Peru’s many climates and peoples.
Crew: Tierras Vivas representatives in Lima, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, and Puno, professional local tour guides, a cook and porters on the Inca Trail.
Transportation: 2x domestic flights, private transportation by van, tourist bus, motorboat, 1-way trainBOOK ONLINE
Whenever your flight arrives in Lima, you will be met at the airport by a driver with your name on a sign. You and your luggage will be transported directly to your hotel, after which you are free to spend the rest of the day however you like – resting in the hotel or exploring the city of Lima, which has beautiful buildings as well as beaches. The weather is often quite pleasant as well, so spending a little time outside can be very enjoyable. Feel free to dive into tasting authentic Peruvian food at one of the many delicious restaurants in the city.
The following morning, you are driven back to the Lima airport, this time for a flight to Puerto Maldonado, the entry point into the Southern Amazon, directly across the country. From here, a motorboat transports us to the jungle lodge, which is cozy and charming, designed specifically to minimize impact on the surrounding environment. There is no electricity, but there is hot water, and at night there are kerosene lamps for light and mosquito nets over the beds.
The next few days are dedicated to exploring the beautiful rainforest with a local bilingual guide. The Amazon is a perfect location for spotting wildlife, as it is home to thousands of species of animals (even more species of bugs, and millions of plant types). Some incredible animals to keep an eye out for are sloth bears, tapirs, monkeys, anacondas, alligators, toucans, macaws, and hummingbirds. The local guide can help point out otherwise well hidden specimens in the wild. Since this is a jungle, it is advisable to wear clothing to protect against bugs, or bug spray. Long, light clothing is perfect for avoiding bug bites as well as sunburn.
On the final day, a motorboat takes us back to Puerto Maldonado, and we catch a short flight to the city of Cusco. Upon arrival, it is wise to take at the very least a few hours to completely rest, to avoid or minimize altitude sickness. Coca tea can also be helpful for preventing altitude sickness. Drink lots of liquids, avoid heavy food, and rest! After a few hours, if you feel alright, a leisurely exploration of the beautiful city can be quite an enjoyable activity. However, you will have a full day later on the trip dedicated to Cusco.
After breakfast, a tourist bus takes us down to the Sacred Valley. It is about an hour and a half drive from Cusco to Pisaq, the first stop on this tour. Pisaq has both ruins of an ancient Incan city, and below it, a modern town. We stop first for a tour of the ruins and then continue down to the current town of Pisaq, which has an excellent handicraft market, which is a great place to buy souvenirs or just browse. Next, we continue on to the “Capital of the Valley”, the town of Urubamba. Here, we stop for a buffet lunch of traditional Andean foods. The last stop of the day is Ollantaytambo, where the Incan architecture remains alive in the town itself. This town also used to be a fortress, and there are still impressive towers to visit. Water channels crisscross through the town, dating all the way back to the Incan empire, and the town overlooks the Urubamba River. We spend the night in a comfortable hostel in Ollantaytambo to fully enjoy this charming little town.
The next morning, early, we have breakfast and set out on a short bus ride to a checkpoint of the Inca Trail, Km 82. After a quick briefing, we set out on this trail that was once regularly used by the Incas themselves. Over the next three days, you will pass about 8 Incan sites, including Wiñay Wayna, Llactapata, and Phuyupatamarca. The highest point on the trail is at 4,200 meters, called Dead Woman’s Pass. The trail passes through high mountain terrain and subtropical vegetation, offering fantastic views of the Andes Mountains, valleys, and lakes the entire way. The final day, you wake very early and hike the remaining three hours to the Sun Gate, hopefully in time for watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu. There is a two and a half hour guided tour of the city, an opportunity to climb to the peak of either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu, and a bus ride down to Aguas Calientes. Later, the train takes you back to Ollantaytambo, from where a bus transports you the rest of the way back to Cusco by evening.
This is a free, relaxed day with which you can do whatever you like. There are plenty of tourist locations to visit in the city and in the surrounding area. The main plaza, or “Plaza de Armas”, is a picturesque location with two colonial churches. There is also the Qorikancha and sacred garden on the Av. El Sol, which was an Incan religious site with Spanish architecture built over it. A short hike up from the Plaza de Armas, the religious site of Sacsayhuaman has remarkable views as well as many resident alpacas. Outside the city, there are opportunities for bungee jumping, white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. For a more relaxed day, the city is full of museums and cafes worth a visit. After completing the Inca Trail, it’s quite understandable to just want a relaxed day to enjoy the city.
Today is another tourist bus trip, but this time along the Sun Route, which is the route between Cusco and Puno. There are a variety of important sites along this road, the first of which is the ancient city of Pikillaqta. This is a monument of the pre-Incan culture of Wari, and is now a national archeological park. Next, we visit the famous San Pedro church in Andahuaylillas, which is often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. It is built in a style typical of colonial small town churches, and is full of beautiful and intricate paintings. After this, we visit the Temple of Wiracocha, the Incan creator. In fact, this tour lays out the history of Peru in a way that few other equally shot trips can. The next stop is La Raya, which is the border between the Cusco and Puno regions, and has breathtaking views of the surrounding Andes. Before reaching the city of Puno, we make one more stop at the village of Pucara to visit the Lithic Museum with pre-Incan artifacts.
After a breakfast and a short drive down from the hotel in Puno, a comfortable motorboat takes us out onto Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world and a vast body of water. After about three hours of traveling on this beautiful lake, we reach the floating Uros islands, which are made of reeds from the lake and originated as a defense tactic against various surrounding tribes. As layers rot, they must be replaced. Houses and boats are also made of the same kind of reed, called totora reeds. The people here have a rich culture, although the original language has died out, and there are only about 300 families left on the islands.
The next stop on the lake is Amantani Island, where we get a tour of the island, meet some locals, and then spend the night with a local family. In the morning, after a traditional breakfast with your host family, we get back on the motorboat and continue on to Taquile Island, which is famous for its hand-woven clothing and textiles of incredibly high quality. We visit the island’s market, where you can admire the handiwork of the locals and maybe purchase some souvenirs. Then we return to Puno to spend the night in a hotel.
After a delicious breakfast in Puno, we set out for Colca Canyon. It is a long ride, about four and a half hours, but when we arrive the scenic canyon will be worth the travel. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and the second deepest canyon in Peru, this canyon is beautiful and perfect for hiking or seeing the incredible Andean Condor, which has a wingspan of over 10 feet and a lifespan close to that of a human’s.
We set out early to visit the Cruz de Condor, the famous lookout of Colca Canyon, which is a perfect location for seeing Andean Condors up close, as well as having great views of the depths of the canyon. After a short hike back to the road, we take a bus to the city of Arequipa, stopping along the way to visit the Aguada Blanca National Park, where we can spot a variety of different native animals. When we get dropped off at our hotel in Arequipa, you can go out for dinner, potentially one of your last Peruvian meals.
This is the last day of the trip, from Arequipa you can either fly out of the airport or continue your travels through Peru by land. To arrange a flight back to Lima or out of the country, you can contact us for help with reservations, as well as transport you to the airport. If you chose to stay in Arequipa any longer, there are beautiful parks, cathedrals, a golf club, and many other interesting locations within and nearby the city.
All Tierras Vivas adventure group tours are accompanied by a Tierras Vivas tour guide, representative, or expedition team. The aim of our tour guides is to take a hassle out of our customers’ trips and to help them to have the best trip possible. The tour guides provide information on each place visited, offer suggestions of what to see and to do, and can recommend a good place to eat. The guides have a broad general knowledge of each location visited during a tour, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local tour guides where we think that more specific knowledge could add more enjoyment to visited places.
Hotel Las Palmas
Address: Calle Bellavista N 320
Tel: (+51) 1444 6033
Carlos Expedition Lodge
Address: Calle Matara N 394, Cusco
Tel: (+51) 8422 4466
Hostal Las Orquidea Real
Address: Av Ferrocarril , Ollantaytambo
Tel: (+51) 84 204032
During this trip, you will be in a variety of different climates. Lima is generally warm, but Cusco and the Inca Trail are at a much higher altitude and therefore much cooler, even getting down to freezing at night during the dry season. The rainforest is hot, humid, and buggy, Puno is one of the coldest cities in Peru. So, the goal is to be prepared for all kinds of weather and temperatures and still pack as light as possible to make it easier to carry all your luggage. Here is a suggested packing list for this trip.
Due to high popularity and recently implemented government regulations, the Inca Trail can be fully booked many months in advance. Since this trip includes the Inca Trail, it is important to book early in order to ensure a spot on the trail. Check our calendar of Inca Trail availability. During peak dry season, the Inca Trail can sell out up to 4 months in advance. If there are no spots left for when you want to do this trip, there are a variety of similar trips available without the Inca Trail, many of which still include a trip to Machu Picchu.
The excitement of the discovery of Machu Picchu, that sanctuary, astronomical observatory and terraced landscape, reaches greater intensity if you walk along the Inca Trail. Only the passion of adventure and effort reveal the secrets of those places that the Great Inca commanded to travel six centuries ago from Cusco, in search of a place to erect ceremonial palaces and temples.
The Peruvian Amazon is an ideal place for lovers of nature and biodiversity tourism and for those who want to feel an intimate contact with the unspoilt nature of the Amazonian forests. You can go to hostels and lodges located in the middle of the jungle and the most daring and adventurous can reach the National Parks and Reserves, with exuberant fauna and flora, ideal for bird watching, also can make contact with the aborigines of the Amazon and know the rites of ayahuasca. It is an ideal destination to get to know live cultures and to make outdoor tourism enjoying nature and biodiversity. Inca Trail and Amazon Rainforest
This tour, will let you visit Machu Picchu, an Inca city surrounded by temples, platforms and water channels, built on top of a mountain. Its construction was built with large blocks of stone joined together, without the use of amalgam. At the moment it is considered cultural patrimony of the humanity when being recognized like important political center, religious and administrative of the Incaic time.
The Amazon is the largest tropical forest on the planet, inhabited by innumerable species, some still unknown. This magnificent place is full of fascinating landscapes and is presented as a sample of great biodiversity, which is why its territory has become a source of interest for scientists. Peru Hike & Amazon
Land of jungle, coast and mountains, Peru has several destinations that offer endless activities, ancient and modern treasures, and the spectacular beauty of our jungles, mountains and coasts. Here you will find a unique journey through the Amazon River, a tour of the highest navigable lake in the world, and an encounter with an ancient culture, among other wonders.
From the oldest civilization in America to the largest and most powerful empire in the south of the continent, Peru preserves the architectural and artistic vestiges of fascinating cultures. Discovering them is an overwhelming experience. Peruvian Highlands