Southern Peru 3 weeks

Southern Peru 3 weeks

per person

Why you'll love this trip

This is a sample of a classic 3-week trip around South Peru, including the coast, the Andes and the Amazon. This trip offers a great variation in landscapes and culture (from beaches to deserts with oasis, glaciers, cloud forest and rain forest). This trip is built in a way that you go gradually up in altitude, and it is also great because you travel in more or less chronological way into history.


We can easily upgrade and make changes to this trip to make it exactly yours.  Just an example, between Puno and Cusco instead of taking the bus, you can travel through the Andes on a beautiful luxury train, an incredible experience!


This trip has a good balance of activity with free time, but if you have more time available, we always highly encourage people to travel even slower; in this way, you can explore deeper.  Take an extra free day in a beautiful town like Arequipa or Cusco, or in a natural environment or community. This can be very enjoyable and recharging for many people. You acclimatize better, rest up, take care of a couple things without having to rush, enjoy a slow meal and allow yourself the time to have a casual conversation with someone random.


Example trip itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in Lima

Welcome to Peru and our capital city, Lima!  A member of our staff is waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel. You receive a welcome briefing and we make sure you have everything you need to start your adventure. Depending on your time of arrival, you can start to explore a first part of the city today. (Most flights arrive in the evening).  This evening you can enjoy your first Peruvian dinner and a Pisco Sour (Peru’s national cocktail) in Latin America’s culinary capital!

Day 2. Lima private city tour

Today our friendly guide from Lima takes you on a private city tour to explore Lima, also known as “The City of Kings”. Lima is one of the few South American capitals that preserves a rich colonial past. We visit the highlights of the historical center with the San Martín square, the Main Square, the Cathedral, the Government Palace, and the San Francisco Convent and its catacombs. In the afternoon, we also visit the modern parts of the city with the ocean side cliff parks of Miraflores and the artistic bohemian neighborhood of Barranco. During the day, your guide shows some of the city’s highlights but also less known little places. You have the chance to take a drink at a local cafeteria, eat a typical seafood meal in a local “cevicheria” for lunch, and visit local markets to buy the most delicious exotic fruit -with our advice. (B)

Day 3. Paracas peninsula and national park

 In the morning you travel on the Pan-American highway along the coastline to the Paracas Reserve in the south. This afternoon you visit this beautiful natural reserve where you see beautiful desert landscapes, migratory birds, colorful beaches and learn from your local guide about the fascinating pre-Incan Paracas culture that occupied this region. You also enjoy the sunset at the beach. You spend the night in your hotel located at the Bay of Paracas.


Note: You can choose to travel to Paracas with a comfortable direct bus or you can also choose to travel with our private driver-guide in a more personalized way and visit more. (B)

Day 4. Ballestas Islands, Peruvian wine region, Ica desert and Oasis

After breakfast, we walk you to the small local harbor to take a speedboat to the Ballestas Islands!  On this excursion with a nature guide, you are surrounded by marine wildlife, from the boat you can see many sea lions, thousands of birds, fish and maybe some funny Humboldt penguins, sea stars and other marine species. After this 2-hour tour you travel 1.5 hours further south to Ica (also known as the region of eternal sunshine). Here you stay at the Huacachina Oasis, a small, beautiful place in the middle of enormous sand dunes. You can have lunch at your hotel with a view over the oasis or at one of the small restaurants. Optionally in the afternoon, you can choose to  visit a vineyard and try the local wines and pisco, or take part in an adventure tour with 4×4 dune buggies in the desert to watch the sunset and give sandboarding a try. (B)

Day 5. Mysterious Nazca

On a wide and arid desert, 2 hours further south, you find one of the largest mysteries on earth: “The Nazca Lines”.  A monkey, a spider, a whale and a hummingbird, are only a few of the many mysterious figures that are drawn here on the desert floor. We visit the look-out towers from where you can see some of the figures. Optionally, you can choose to fly over the lines with a small plane, because the Nazca Lines are best appreciated from the air.  After lunch, we have a tour at the Pre-Incan cemetery of Chauchilla, where we see 1500-year-old mummies, revealing Nazca as the cradle of Paracas ancient Culture. At the end of the day, you travel further south with a comfortable night bus to Arequipa. (B)

Day 6. The White colonial city of Arequipa

Welcome to Arequipa, one of the most beautiful cities in Peru, also known as “The White City”, because of the many buildings that are made of white volcanic clay. This colonial city is surrounded by 3 impressive volcanoes, with “El Misti” standing as a sentinel over the city. You have a free day to visit this historical center of this beautiful city and to walk in the colorful Santa Catalina Convent at your own leisure. Optionally, you can also take part in a guided city tour or a refreshing rafting trip with beautiful views of the country side.  Arequipa is also known for its great regional cuisine so make sure you try one of its typical dishes. (B)

Day 7. Volcanoes, llamas and vicuñas on the way to the Colca Canyon

After breakfast, you are be picked up by your guide to go the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US). On the way you pass through the National Reserve of Aguada Blanca (3800 m), where you can observe groups of alpacas and vicuñas in their natural habitat. After a few hours, the descent to the Colca Valley begins, passing several villages to the Colca Valley, where you spend the night. Tonight, you have the chance to soak in the relaxing hot springs under the starry sky of the southern hemisphere. (B)

Day 8. Condors and terraces: exploring the Colca Canyon

Just like the local farmers of this region, we wake up early today to visit the Colca Valley and the Canyon.  You see thousands of agricultural terraces today, then visit the pre-Inca terracing group of Collagua and Cabana on the hillsides of the canyon. Also, the small towns of Coporaque and the ruins of Uyo Uyo, which belong to the Collagua’s culture.  We explore the region and stop at the famous “Cruz Del Condor”, where we have a unique view of the deep canyon and -if we get lucky- we can see the majestic flight of an Andean condor soaring on the thermal winds. At the end of the day, we spend another night here. (B)

Day 9. Over the altiplano to Puno

Today you continue your travel (approximately 5 hours) over the altiplano region to Puno, the city located at the shores of Lake Titicaca. On the way, you see amazing landscapes and high-altitude lakes. Upon your arrival in Puno, our staff welcomes you and briefs you about the plan for the next days. (B)

Day 10. Traditions on the islands of Lake Titicaca

Your local guide picks you up from your hotel in the morning and you go with a very typical local transport to the little lake harbor. Here, you embark on a local slow boat to visit the huge Lake Titicaca and its beautiful islands. You visit Taquile Island (Unesco’s Cultural World Heritage Site) where you make a beautiful hike while learning about the local traditions. After lunch, with a nice view over the lake, you make a stop at the floating reed islands of the indigenous Aymara Uros people. Your guide helps you communicate with the people and help explain their interesting way of life here. At the end of the day, we take you to the Aymara community of Luquina Chica, where you spend the night with a local host family.  An excellent way to experience and taste life in the Andes!  (B, L, D)

Day 11. With the locals around Lake Titicaca

In the morning, you have enough time to take a walk around the community with views of the lake. You are also invited to take part in some of the daily activities of your host family (whatever is needed that day: from feeding the animals, making bread, fishing, to taking care of the small children, harvesting quinoa, planting potatoes, etc.) After lunch, we say goodbye to our host family and you go back to Puno.  (B, L)

Day 11. Across the Andes to Cusco

Today you travel further through the Andes to Cusco, the capital of the ancient Inca Empire -an approximately 5-hour drive-; your last long travel day. Later in the afternoon, you have time to explore and feel the vibes around the beautiful main square of Cusco. Your hotel is located in the historical city center. (B)

Day 12. Cusco walking tour

Today you have a guided walking tour of Cusco. Our local guide takes you through the little streets to the market, shares personal stories with you so that you learn about the fascinating past and present of the city. In the afternoon, you have free time to visit more at your own pace and enjoy the city. (B)

Day 13. Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Today we take you on a full day private excursion along the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas.  Our first stop is the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, just outside of Cusco. On the way to Pisac, we make a quick stop at a local llama cooperative where you have the chance to see and learn about all the different types of llamas and alpacas. We have lunch at a local school project we support in Urubamba. We visit the project, the town and market, a local pottery artist and a bar with home-brewed corn beer. (B)

Day 14. Visit Machu Picchu by train

Today you get to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  A scenic train ride takes you from the Ollantaytambo train station along the Urubamba river to the little town of Machu Picchu. On the way, you see how the landscape drastically change, from views over snow-capped mountains to lush cloud forest vegetation. From the town you go up the green steep mountain with the shuttle bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Your local guide gives you a private tour through this original Inca city located on the top of the mountain surrounded by an amazing landscape. In the afternoon, you take a beautiful train ride back to Ollantaytambo, where you spend the night. (B)

Day 15. Ollantaytambo Inca town, salt mines, and circular terraces

This morning you first have some time to explore the enjoyable Inca town of Ollantaytambo.  You can explore the Inca fortress and walk through the original little Inca streets where people still live in houses that were once built by their Inca ancestors.  Also, the water system that runs through the streets is still intact since Inca times. Around 1:30pm, your driver picks you up to take you back to Cusco. Along the way, you stop at Moray where you can see fabulous circular agricultural terraces and you also visit the salt terraces and the colonial town of Maras. (B)

Day 16. Free day in Cusco

You have a free day to enjoy Cusco or take part in one of the many optional activities the city offers: souvenir shopping, massages, museums, rafting, horse-back riding, day-hike to the rainbow mountains, learn to prepare a Peruvian meal with a cooking class, or just relax and take in an easy day in this beautiful town. (B)

Day 17. Amazon Rainforest

We pick you up at your hotel in the morning and take you to the airport for a short flight (20min) to the Amazon rainforest. Upon arrival in the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, your local nature guide takes you to the river where you board a motor canoe and head to your rainforest jungle lodge. You arrive and are welcomed by the staff and your nature guide takes you on an exploration hike around the lodge. There are several activities offered that you can take part in such as a night exploration hike, storytelling or caiman spotting activity. (B, L, D)

Day 18. Amazon Rainforest

Explore the fauna and flora in the Amazon Rainforest with your nature guide. At night, you can enjoy the sounds of nature. (B, L, D)

Day 19. Amazon Rainforest to Lima

Today is your last day in the jungle and after a nice breakfast, you travel back to the town of Puerto Maldonado by motor canoe to take the flight back to the capital, Lima. (B)

Day 20. Lima departure

You enjoy your last moments in Peru. We take you to the international airport for your flight back home and we hope you are taking back memories and discoveries of an amazing trip. (B)

  1. Included highlights:
  • Private City Tour of Lima
  • Paracas National Park
  • Speedboat with nature guide to the Ballestas Islands (with small group of other travelers)
  • Huacachina Oasis
  • Chauchilla mummy cemetery in Nazca
  • 3d/2n excursion to the Colca Canyon (with small group of other travelers)
  • 2d/1n Boat tour to the islands of Titicaca Lake with community homestay
  • Private walking city tour of Cusco
  • Full day with private driver and guide in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • Stay at the beautiful Inca town of Ollantaytambo
  • Private excursion to the salt terraces of Maras and Moray
  • Scenic train rides to Machu Picchu
  • Private guided tour at Machu Picchu
  • 3d/2n excursion to the Amazon Rainforest with nature guide (Puerto Maldonado)
  • All entrance tickets during the excursions


  1. Transportation:
  • All transfers to/from airports and bus stations
  • Private vehicles for the excursions (unless specifically mentioned otherwise)
  • Royal Class Public Bus: Lima-Paracas-Ica-Nazca-Arequipa and Puno to Cusco
  • Private tourist bus: Arequipa-Colca -Puno (with small group of other travelers)
  • Slow boat for the visit to the islands at the Titicaca Lake
  • Shuttle bus: Machu Pichu-Aguas Calientes (roundtrip)
  • Scenic roundtrip train to/from Machu Picchu
  • One way flight ticket Cusco-Puerto Maldonado
  • One way fly ticket Puerto Maldonado-Lima


  1. Accommodation:
  • Lima: 3 nights
  • Paracas: 1 night
  • Huacachina: 1 night
  • Between Nazca and Arequipa: 1 night at a comfortable night bus (Cruz Del Sur)
  • Arequipa: 1 night
  • Colca: 2 nights
  • Puno: 2 nights
  • Cusco: 4 nights
  • Urubamba: 1 night
  • Aguas Calientes: 1 night
  • Puerto Maldonado: 2 nights


  1. Food:
  • All breakfasts (at the hotels)
  • All meals at the lodge in Puerto Maldonado


  1. Guiding:
  • Professional local English-speaking guides
  • Support from Vamos Expeditions staff
  • Lunches and dinners not mention above
  • Drinks
  • Souvenirs and personal expenses at the hotels
  • Travel insurance
  • Extra excursions or transportation not mentioned above
  • International flight

Please cotac us.


  • 4×4 dune buggy tour at the Ica Desert (approx. USD 20)
  • Flight over Nazca Lines (approx. USD 120)


We will craft and tailor the perfect dream journey for you.

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Every trip helps support local conservation and social projects.


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