inside highlands peru
Enter the Peruvian highlands. Discover the most emblematic destinations of southern Peru, from the coast of Lima, through the famous Lake Titicaca with its Floating Islands of the Uros, and the customs of the Peruvian highlands in Puno.
We can also have a unique tour through the Colca Canyon and see in its natural state the majestic condores, who inhabit this place and are the lords of the Peruvian Andes.
And we will continue the tour with the famous city of Cusco, and its excursions to the most important archaeological centers of the Sacred Valley, and its highlands, as the best tourist center in the world, Machu Picchu.
DAY 1 ARRIVAL TO LIMA, PERU
Welcome to Lima! Upon arrival to the airport, your guide will meet you to kick off your adventure. You’ll be transferred to your hotel in Miraflores and briefed on the details of the journey. Dinner is on your own tonight.
DAY 2 FLIGHT TO AREQUIPA
You’ll meet your guide in the morning and head to the airport for an hour-long flight to Arequipa, then head to your hotel to get settled in. Upon arrival to the hotel, you’ll relax over some coca tea while check-in and luggage are taken care of by your guide. This afternoon, you’ll meet in the lobby to explore the city of Arequipa, which includes visits to the Santa Catalina Monastery, the Plaza de Armas, La Compañía Jesuit church with its well-known cloisters and dome and the Tristán del Pozo House, a beautiful colonial house which represents one of the most impressive expressions of civil architecture in Peru. Towards the end of the tour, you’ll visit the typical neighborhoods of Carmen Alto and Yanahura, where you’ll have fantastic views of the city before heading back to the hotel for the night.
DAY 3 AREQUIPA TO COLCA CANYON
We’ll depart our hotel this morning and make our way to Colca Canyon (2325 m). Heading northwest with snow-covered Mt. Chachani towering over us along the way, we’ll have the opportunity to see wild vicuña, alpacas and llamas in the Pampa Cañahuas National Reserve. We’ll also see different species of birds like flamingoes, ibises, Andean geese, ducks and Andean eagles (“Kara Kara”). After a stop at a viewpoint to see the volcanoes and snow-covered mountains in Patapampa (4,800 m), we’ll arrive at the small town of Chivay (3600 m) for an afternoon check-in at our hotel. Take some time to relax at the nearby hot springs before dinner. (Admission to the hot springs is an additional cost of around $6 per person.)
DAY 4 VIEW CONDORS IN FLIGHT AT COLCA CANYON
After an early morning breakfast, we’ll head out for a full day of exploration, where we’ll see charming towns like Yanque & Maca, colonial churches, local people wearing typical woven clothing and hundreds of pre-Inca terraces still in use to grow Andean crops like corn, quinoa and kiwicha, among others. After a two-hour scenic drive, we’ll reach the most visited place in the region, “El Cruz del Condor”. Here, you’ll witness the endangered Andean condors in flight in one of the deepest canyons in the world. After lunch, we’ll head back to Arequipa, arriving at the hotel in the evening for dinner at your leisure.
DAY 5 AREQUIPA TO PUNO
In the morning, you’ll depart your hotel in Arequipa for a one-hour flight to Puno. Upon arrival and check-in to your hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day to relax and explore the city.
DAY 6 PUNO TO TITICACA LAKE
After breakfast, we’ll make our way to Puno’s harbor on Lake Titicaca, where you’ll board a small cruise boat for a one-hour ride to the specatular floating islands of Uros. You’ll spend some time with the community and enjoy a traditional lunch before we board the boat and head on to Amantani Island, where we meet our host family for the evening. In the afternoon, we’ll hike up to top of the highest hill on the lake and enjoy the breathtaking sunset views. After dinner, we’ll head to the community center to socialize with the locals and enjoy the party dressed in festive, local attire before we head back to our family house for the night.
DAY 7 LAKE TITICACA TO PUNO
This morning, we’ll board our cruise boat and continue our adventure to Taquile Island, where we’ll have a chance to explore and have some lunch before we head back to Puno for the rest of the evening.
DAY 8 PUNO TO CUSCO
After breakfast, we’ll begin our journey to Cusco, formal capital of the Inca empire. We’ll begin with a stop at the Sillustani pre–Inka archeological site and continue across the border (“la Raya”) between the Cusco and Puno regions, where you’ll enjoy the mountain views along the way. We’ll continue to Restaurante Don Tomas for a buffet-style lunch before we head to Raqchi and the ancient Inca temple of Wiracocha for a guided tour. Afterwards, we’ll make our way to Andahuaylillas, a colorful, colonial town to visit the famous “Sistine Chapel of South America” which displays interesting art work dating from the 17th century. We’ll arrive to Cusco in the evening, after which you’ll have the night free to explore the city.
DAY 9 CUSCO HALF-DAY CITY TOUR
After breakfast, meet with your guide to explore the fascinating city of Cusco, visiting the most important Inca and colonial sites in the country. The first stop is Sacsayhuaman, one of the world’s most impressive archeological sites, located at the top of Cusco. This site is a perfect example of the impressive architecture of the Inca period, built with the biggest and tallest stones in the empire. We’ll continue to Qenqo, a place of ancient spiritual connection to the underworld and related to the mummification of the kings. Later in the morning, we’ll head back to Cusco for a visit to Qoriqancha, temple of the sun, where you’ll have a chance to explore and learn about the site’s history before we move on to the Basilica cathedral, a colonial structure built over the top of the Inka temple displaying incredible examples of colonial art. You’ll have the rest of the evening to experience the sights in Cusco at your leisure.
DAY 10 CUSCO TO SACRED VALLEY
This morning, we’ll leave the city behind and head to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The first stop is Pisac, a small and colorful town with a local market full of hand-made textiles, art work and jewelry. We’ll continue to lunch at Muña restaurant in the middle of the Valley, followed by a visit to the Ollantaytambo fortress, an unfinished archeological site. Enjoy learning about the history of this place with your guide before heading to the hotel for the evening.
DAY 11 CUSCO TO SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS
This morning, we’ll board our coach and head to the highlands and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We’ll have fantastic views of the valley and its towns, surrounded by glaciers and snow-capped peaks. We’ll make a few stops and check out some the colorful, local town of Pisac and its famous street market before we head on to our buffet-style lunch in the heart of the valley. After lunch, we’ll head on to Ollantaytambo, one of the most impressive towns and Inca sites in the valley, a place with rich history and traditions preserved over the centuries. After a tour of the town, we’ll take a short, thirty-minute coach ride back to our hotel for the evening.
DAY 12 SACRED VALLEY TO CUSCO
This morning, we’ll make our way to the small, valley town of Maras, known for its salt mines. You’ll continue to Moray to witness the circular terraces that served as an agricultural experimental site for the Incas, after which we’ll head to Chinchero to see and experience the textile traditions of the local families and community. After our exploration of Chinchero, we’ll have lunch at the home of a local family with a traditional delicacy of the Andes, Guinea pig (cuy), then continue back to the hotel in Cusco.
DAY 13 FREE TIME IN CUSCO
This morning, your guide will detail the highlights of the city that you shouldn’t miss, and you’ll have the day to explore on your own. Tonight, we’ll have a farewell dinner together, where you’ll have the chance to share your experiences and favorite memories, as well as say your goodbyes.
DAY 15 FLIGHT TO LIMA
This morning, your guide will pick you up and take you to the airport for your flight back to Lima.
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS
- All domestic flights in Peru
- Qosqo Expeditions Guide
- Local guides in every city
- Meals as mentioned in itinerary
- Admission to all sites
- Private transportation
- Gratuities for all transportation, restaurant and hotel services
- Meals during free time
- Gratuities for your guide
- Alcoholic beverages
- Entrance fee to the hot springs
- Laundry service
- Overweight or extra luggage
Additional Information and Recommendations:
- We recommend this adventure from March to October.
- All our adventures can easily be customized as you wish.
- Most of our adventures include a farewell meal which allows us to give back to the community through a local, charitable organization.
- Machu Picchu is a fantastic spot to do some bird watching, so don´t forget your binoculars!
- Peru uses Soles as currency, but dollars are widely accepted all over the region and both currencies are available in most ATMs. We encourage you to have local cash on hand.
- Read more of our travel tips here: www.qosqoexpeditions.com/recommendations
This adventure will give you a taste of Southern Peru’s most iconic and well-known destinations, immersing travelers in Peru’s ancestral heritage while experiencing local people and ancient traditions. From the coastal capital of Lima, head south to the beautiful, white cityscapes of Arequipa and the wild Colca Canyon. Cross the waters of Lake Titicaca and immerse yourself in the unique traditions of the island cultures. Travel to Cusco and see Inca history come to life in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, one of the world’s new seven wonders.
Peru Travel information
When to travel to Peru? Considering that Peru is categorized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries on earth, you have a variety of climates and seasons to consider. That being said, you can visit Peru year-round depending on where you would like to visit. However, if you are looking to explore the Amazonian rainforest or traverse through the Andes Mountains, many travelers choose to avoid the rainy season which runs from November to March with its peak between January and February. Visiting from April through October lands you in the generally dry winter season, which is an excellent time to visit Machu Picchu, experience a world-class trek, traverse the exotic Amazon Rain forest not to mention the other amazing destinations Peru has to offer. Speak with a Qosqo Expeditions Designer today to discover the best time for you to experience a luxury tour of Peru.
(UTC/GMT -5 hours)
Lima, Peru`s Capital City
Peru`s Population: Approx. 31 million
Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Official Currency: Peruvian Sol
12 designated UNESCO sites