This program was named Southern Peru Up and Down, because of the many places you will visit and enjoy in a bit more than three weeks, in the Southern part of our country, including the variations of altitude levels along the way. Starting at sea level, with the Pacific Ocean on your right hand side, going by lots of localities, in the middle of huge deserts, to later on get into the countryside, climbing through the Andean mountain ranges, to discover in their topography, amazing natural and cultural sceneries and finally end the journey in the Amazon Basin, with its own colorful landscapes.
Except for the last day of the trip, the entire journey will be by land, using means of transportation like vans, buses, trains and sometimes, you will also use motorized boats, during this great multi-activity trip.
Arrival in Lima
After arriving in Lima, our representatives will assist you with a transfer to your hotel from the airport to your hotel, where you will get information for the next days´ activities.
Pachacamac – Paracas
Taking the Pan American Highway heading South, we´ll stop in Pachacamac, where we´ll visit pre-Inca and Inca archaeological sites consisting of temples, palaces, streets and altars. Then, we’ll continue South, through the Peruvian coastal desert localities of Cañete and Chincha, all the way to Paracas and its National Park, to spend the night at a hotel. Breakfast.
Ballestas Islands – Ica – Nazca
Our first activity will start just after leaving the Port of Paracas, with a boat ride to visit the Ballestas Islands, where it will be possible to observe sea birds and sea lions, as well as to have a closer contact with the Pacific Ocean. Once back in Paracas, we´ll board our van, to go South, to visit Ica and its history museum and later on, we´ll stop at the Huacachina Oasis for a quick lunch.
Nasca is located almost three hours of van ride from Ica. For the afternoon you will overflight the Nasca Lines, and later transfer to your hotel. Breakfast.
Seaboard – Arequipa
Today will be the longest day of travelling on the whole journey, as we´ll still be heading South on the Pan American Highway, leaving Nazca behind, to enjoy many views of the Pacific Ocean, on our right side and have the chance to stop for a few minutes on some of the nearby beaches, to feel the sea water relaxing our feet. In the afternoon, we’ll start to climb up some Andean low barren mountains towards Arequipa, where we´ll stay for two nights. Breakfast.
Arequipa is a treasure-trove of colonial architecture, with the arcades around its Main Square and the sight of the imposing and almost perfect cone-shaped volcano called Misti overlooking the city. In the morning, we´ll board our transportation, in order to visit the districts of Carmen Alto and Yanahuara and later on, go to the Main Square, with the Cathedral and Compañia de Jesús Church. Then, we´ll visit the enclosed colonial complex of Santa Catalina´s Convent and during the rest of the afternoon, you might want to visit the Ice Maiden (Juanita) Mummy Museum. Breakfast.
South American cameloids – Chivay
Today, we’ll go to Chivay; a locality situated at the head of the Colca Canyon. On the way, we might see some herds of llamas, alpacas and vicuñas, as well as the fast and impressive changes of landscapes, according to the local altitude, as we´ll reach the highest mountain pass on our trip, at 4,850 m./15,908 ft. Breakfast.
Colca Canyon – ride to Puno
We´ll have an early start to take our transportation on the left side of the canyon, all the way to the Cruz del Condor Vantage Point, in the hope to see condors; the world´s largest flying birds and enjoy the amazing views around the canyon, with beautiful agricultural benched terraces built since pre-Incan times. Later in the morning, we´ll get out of the canyon, to go to the town of Puno which is located on the Western shore of Lake Titicaca (3,800 m./12,464 ft.) known as one of the world´s highest navigable lake. Breakfast.
Uros Islands – Bus ride to Cusco
Early in the morning, we’ll visit the floating islands made with totora (cattail reed), where the Uros who are Lake Titicaca´s most ancient inhabitants, live. After returning to the mainland, we´ll travel by bus to Cusco, via the La Raya Mountain Pass (3,338 m./10,949 ft.), as the journey will go on across the barren high plateaus, where we´ll pass by local villages with colonial churches. We will stop en route, to take pictures of the scenery and we’ll officially have a break in Raqchi, where there is a unique Incan Period archaeological site, with a high stone and adobe (Sun-dried mud bricks) wall and in the early evening, we’ll arrive in Cusco. Breakfast.
City tour of Cusco and nearby archaeological sites
In the morning, we´ll visit the Incan Temple of the Sun and Qoricancha and later on, we will pass to main square to sightsee in town impressive cathedral. After it, we´ll tour the archaeological sites in Cusco´s outskirts, like Saqsayhuaman and Qenqo. In the afternoon, we´ll enjoy at leisure for visiting museums, stores or just walk on coble stones streets of Cusco downtown. Breakfast.
Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo
After a little more than one hour’s bus ride, we should start to see the impressive Urubamba River and the Sacred Valley dominated by huge mountains. Our first visit will be at Pisac´s Incan archaeological complex, to observe the magnificent farming benched terraces on the mountain slopes. Afterwards, we will stop at Pisac´s local market, in order to have a stroll and shop for alpaca clothes, handicraft, etc.
After lunch, the road will lead us through many localities along the Sacred Valley, such as Coya, Lamay, Calca, Huayllabamba, Yucay, Urubamba and will finally stop in Ollantaytambo, where we´ll visit the Incan fortress and later, staying later in town at a local hotel. Breakfast and Lunch.
Hike to Machu Picchu
Piscacucho – Patallacta – Huayllabamba
After a short ride to the trailhead, in Piscacucho (Km. 82), our first day of hiking is considered as the easiest, because there aren´t many uphill trails. On the way, we´ll see some archaeological sites like Salapunku, Kanabamba, Patallacta and Huillca Racay and after almost eight hours of walking, we´ll arrive at our first campsite in Huayllabamba. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Llulluchapampa – Warmiwañusca’s Mountain Pass – Pacaymayo
The second day´s hike is the most strenuous of the journey, because of the long climbing to Warmiwañusca´s Mountain Pass (4,200 m./13,776 ft.). But, we´ll also have good reasons to enjoy our walk today, as there won´t be any hurry (this is not a race to Machu Picchu) and the ascension will include many halts, to observe birds, plants and landscapes. Places like Yuncachimpa, the Cloud Forest, Corralpunku and Llulluchapampa hold stunning views which are all good excuses to stop and relax. After almost seven hours of climbing, we´ll arrive at the mountain pass and beyond it, the descent will last another two hours, to get to our next campsite in Pacaymayo. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Runkurakay – Sayacmarka – Chaquicocha – Phuyupatamarka
The best part of this Classic Incan Trail to Machu Picchu starts today, as there will be another climb, but not as long as the first one and it will only last about two hours, to reach the second mountain pass. On the way, we´ll go by the archaeological complex of Runkurakay and after the mountain pass (3,950 m./12,956 ft.), there will be more vegetation all around us, as well as other archaeological sites to see, such as Sayacmarka, Conchamarka, Chakicocha and Phuyupatamarka, where we´ll camp for the night. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Intipata – Wiñaywayna – Intipunku – Machu Picchu
Instead of hiking uphill today, we´ll have to face many steep downhill paths and Phuyupatamarka will be the first archeological site on our way, just a few minutes after leaving our campsite. Going down, we´ll pass by Intipata and Wiñaywayna. Later on, we´ll get to Intipunku (the Sun´s Gate) from where we’ll be able to see Machu Picchu for the first time and after a few quick pictures of the Incas´ Lost City and a short downhill hike, we´ll board a bus to Aguas Calientes, to spend the night at a hostel. Breakfast and Lunch.
Machu Picchu – Cusco
Today, we´ll have a very early start, as we´ll try to be the first in Machu Picchu, to contemplate the sunrise and also have more time to stroll around the site, before more people arrive by train from Cusco. Then, we’ll go on a morning guided tour of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
In the afternoon, we´ll board the train back to Ollantaytambo, and from there a drive to Cusco. Breakfast.
Leisure in Cusco
You may decide to stroll around the center, visiting museums, churches, markets, shops or neighborhoods and there are many cafés and restaurants around the Plaza de Armas, where you can relax and watch the local life go by. Breakfast.
Transportation to Quincemil
Once again, we will board our transportation and go South-west, for less than two hours, to the locality of Urcos, close to which starts a new road to the Amazon Basin. On the way, we´ll ascend some mountains, as we´ll be contemplating typical sceneries of the Eastern part of the Andes, with communities spread along the road. It is amazing to see people still using their typical clothes in Catca, Ocongate or Maguayani. In good weather conditions, we might also appreciate the highest mountain in the region of Cusco; the Ausangate (6,370 m./20,894 ft.) and part of the Vilcanota Mountain Range, along with herds of alpacas and llamas. After lunch at Marcapata (2,800 m./9,185 ft.), we´ll descend to Quincemil, nearby which we might camp that night. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
On land trip to Puerto Maldonado – Jungle Lodge
Today, we´ll leave our campsite early. Quincemil is almost located in the jungle are, which means hot temperature starts there and descending still towards the Amazon Basin, we will pass by Masuco. On the way, we might be able to take a look at some gold mines that were originated by alluvial deposits in existing or old river beds. Between Masuco and Puerto Maldonado, there are more than 50,000 people who migrated from Cusco, Arequipa, Puno or other regions of the country, to work in the mines and these artisan miners are heavily deforesting the place.
During the afternoon, we´ll get to Puerto Maldonado and after a quick visit at the in town Lodge´s office, to leave our main luggage, we´ll go on a motorized boat ride on the Madre de Dios or Tambopata River, to the lodge. Upon arrival, we might enjoy a night walk. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 19 & 20
In the Amazonian Jungle
During these two days, our activities will start early, as we´ll be exploring the deepest part of the jungle and will have a chance to participate in organized walks which might allow us to sight wild life, like monkeys, macaws, toucans or capybaras and caimans on the river banks and river boat excursions on jungle lakes could be possible, along with some leisure time. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Early morning return to Puerto Maldonado – Lima
First, we´ll return by boat to Puerto Maldonado and after picking up our main luggage, we´ll go to the airport and board the plane back to Lima. According to your flight schedule, you might decide to stay at Lima’s airport or go to a hotel, to spend the night. The transfer to the airport will be on your own, but if you require assistance, please ask our representatives for it. Breakfast.