Ultimate 4×4 Road Trip Peru
Why you'll love this trip
This is a trip from the coast to the Andes mountains and deep into the Amazon rainforest. On this trip you will enjoy Peru in the comfort and freedom of a private Toyota 4-Runner with a friendly and knowledgeable driver who will tell you the stories of the places you drive through and travel to. Visit Peru in a different way and enjoy little-known places like the Pucusana artisanal fishing town, local surf spots, few visited wildlife reserves such as San Fernando, the Pampa Galeras Reserve, the Cotahuasi Canyon along with the traditional highlights like Ica, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon and Cusco. It’s all here for you.
Example trip itinerary
Day 1. Arrival to Lima
Welcome to Peru and the City of Kings! Upon your arrival a member of our staff waits for you to take you to your hotel in Miraflores.
Day 2. Travel along the coast and fish in an artisanal way
Today we start the adventure in the Toyota Runner 4×4. We pick you up at the hotel and head to Paracas. On the way, we first stop in Pachacamac, a sacred and ceremonial site, dating back to the beginnings of Christianity, where thousands of pilgrims converged to pay tribute and consult the Pachacamac oracle, who they believed could see the past, the future and fate. The site comprises the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac, and the Acllahuasi or Palace of the Virgins of the Sun. Then, we stop in the little Pucusana fishing port, a bay with sandy beaches and a traditional fishing port from where we start our adventure in a wooden boat and try to fish as much as we can. Its calm waters make Pucusana perfect for swimming and amateur diving. While fishing we may be able to see birds, sea lions and dolphins. After one hour, we return to the dock and head to Paracas for 2.5 hours. Upon arrival we check in at the hotel. (B)
Distance: 260 km.
Day 3. Speed boat around the Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve
In the morning, we board a speedboat to head to the Ballestas Islands, a group of rocky formations that are home to important marine fauna like guano birds, Humboldt penguins and sea wolves. On the way, we pass by the Candelabrum, a very big figure traced in the sand whose purpose is still a mystery. We return to the dock and then visit the Paracas National Reserve. Our first stop there is Sequion beach where we observe migratory birds. Then we walk on the shore for 30 minutes and appreciate beautiful landscapes. After that, we get into a canyon for 30 minutes and admire the sub-tropical desert. Finally, we go to Lagunillas beach where we can take an optional fresh bath and then we go back to the hotel to pick up the luggage and head for 1.5 hours to Ica. (B)
Distance: 72 km.
Day 4. Pisco and wine tour, desert oasis & sandboarding
In the morning, we start the Route of Pisco, where we visit the most recognized wineries, starting with the El Catador winery, which is an artisanal winery where the tradition in winemaking and pisco has endured over the years. Following the tour we visit the renowned Vista Alegre winery, winner of prizes for the best piscos in the region. In this winery, you can appreciate the process of industrial production of wines and piscos. We finish at the Tacama or Caravedo winery tour, which uses fine grapes to make its wines and piscos. In the afternoon, we get into a dune buggy to live terrific moments and discharge a lot of adrenaline by riding it through the desert. We make some stops to practice sandboarding. Around 6 pm, we move to the hotel in Nasca. (B)
Distance: 143 km.
Day 5. Overflight of the Nasca Lines and visit San Fernando Reserve
In the morning, you can overfly the Nasca Lines for 45 minutes (the cost is about US$90.00 per person). Then you can visit the San Fernando Reserve that concentrates a rich marine and marine-coastal biodiversity, including sea wolves, otters, penguins and cetaceans. In the same way, you witness the typical fauna of the mountain range, represented by guanacos and condors that descend up to almost the marine strip -encouraged by the vegetation of hills and fauna- through a fragile biological corridor. Then you visit Cahuachi, a major ceremonial center of the Nazca culture based on the coastal area of the Central Andes. You then go back to the hotel in Nasca. (B)
You spend the night at the Nasca Lines hotel.
Day 6. National Reserve Pampa Galeras and head to Cotahuasi
Today we start heading into the Andes for 510 kilometers in 10 hours. First, we pass by “Cerro Blanco”, the highest sand dune of America with 800 meters from top to base. As we go higher, we pass villages and drive through “Pampa Galeras”, a National Reserve that protects the beautiful vicuña animals (camelids), located at 3800 meters above sea level and where we also have the chance to see condors. We stop for lunch around 11 am and then we head to Cotahuasi for seven more hours. We pass through beautiful Andean valleys and towns until we get to the town of Cotahuasi. (B)
Distance: 513 km.
Day 7. Cotahuasi Canyon
Today in the morning, you can choose between two treks: The first one is to Sipia waterfalls that precipitates by approximately five hundred meters in its entire course, if you count the seven waterfall that it presents. Of those seven, the highest reaches 150 meters and has three divisions or waterfalls in its body. The trek takes about 3.5 hours altogether. The second trek is to Cahuana town, in order to have a great view of the Colca Canyon. This trek takes about 5 hours altogether. After doing any of those treks, you are transferred to Arequipa town for 8 to 9 hours. (B)
Distance: 371 km.
Day 8. City tour in Arequipa
Today, you have a free morning to rest. In the afternoon, we have the walking city tour to visit the Main Square, the Cathedral, the Compañía de Jesús church and Santa Catalina convent. Then we visit Yanahuara, to enjoy a great view of the valley in Arequipa. (B)
Day 9. Towards the Colca Canyon and sight of the condors
We pick you up at the hotel at 04:00 am to move to the Colca Canyon. We then stop in the first village, Chivay (3650 meters), after 3 hours of travel to use the restrooms and have breakfast. Then we continue with our journey to the “Cross of the Condor”, where we enjoy for 1 hour the fabulous flight of the Condors. After 30 minutes, we arrive at the town of Cabanaconde (3287 meters), a place where we have lunch and prepare to start our walk through the canyon, passing through the Mirador of Achachihua, where we can appreciate part of the route we take. We begin our descent of the Canyon towards the camp of Llahuar (2050 meters) with a walk of 5 hours approximately. We arrive at the river and appreciate the geysers, finishing in a camp where we enjoy the pools of hot waters at 35 °C, and we can also go fishing in the afternoon (trout). Dinner. (B, L, D)
Distance: 217 km
Day 10. Trekking inside the Colca Canyon
We have breakfast at the agreed time with the guide to continue our journey through the canyon, visiting the town of Paclla (2350 meters), where we can see fruits, native and medicinal plants. Then we rest, and continue climbing up to 2800 meters for an average of 2.5 hours approximately. Then we take a flat walk and descend again to the canyon to Sangalle (2160 meters) also known as the Oasis, where we arrive after 5 hours of walking. We have lunch, and a free afternoon to relax, then have dinner and stay in bungalows overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 11. Leaving the Colca Canyon and heading to the Altiplano
We get up at 05:00 in the morning, upon coordination with the guide to begin the hike up to the village of Cabanaconde (3280 meters) for 3 hours approximately. We have breakfast, and then take a trip to the district of Chivay (3650 meters). On the way, we stop at the Wayrapunku viewpoint to appreciate the Incan and pre-Incan terraces as well as the town of Maca, and then head to the thermal baths of La Calera -at 38ºC- where we can enjoy its relaxing waters. After some time, we return to Chivay. After lunch, we head to Puno for 5 hours. (B, L)
Distance: 351 km.
Day 12. Slow boat to the islands at Lake Titicaca
We pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to the port to get onboard a boat to visit the islands at the Titicaca Lake, first by going to the floating Uros Island where we can appreciate the customs and habits of the locals. After that, we go to the Taquile Island (declared as a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO). We make a walk on the island, learn about the traditions, have lunch and see how they make their textiles. In the afternoon we travel back to Puno by boat. (B, L)
Day 13. Heading to Cusco
We pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to Puno. On the way, we first stop at the Sillustani tombs, a pre-Incan cemetery near the shores of the Umayo Lake which are built above ground in tower-like structures. Then we visit the Pucara museum, which shows monolithic sculptures with a variety of geometric, zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic images, multi-colored ceramics in a variety of ritual and domestic forms. We stop at La Raya, a watershed between the valley that flows into Lake Titicaca and the valley that leads to Cusco. We have lunch in Sicuani. Then we visit Raqchi, the temple of Wiracocha. Finally, we visit the Andahuaylillas church, considered the “Sistine Chapel of America”. Finally, we arrive in Cusco. (B)
Distance: 387 km.
Day 14. City tour in Cusco
You can enjoy a free morning. In the afternoon we start the city tour by visiting the Main Square, the Cathedral, the Koricancha temple, the 12-angle stone, the San Blas church, the San Pedro market and the ruins around the city like Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Sacsayhuaman. (B)
Day 15. Sacred Valley (Pisac and Ollantaytambo)
In the morning, we pick you up at the hotel to start a private full-day tour to the Sacred Valley of
the Incas. You visit the ruins of Pisac with its impressive Incan terraces, and the colorful market of the town of Pisac. After this visit, we go to the authentic Incan town of Ollantaytambo, where many people still live in houses that were originally built by the Incas. You can appreciate that the urban water channels in the tiny Incan streets are still intact. You then visit the Inca Fortress of Ollantaytambo. (B)
Distance: 62 km
Day 16. Short Inca Trail
We pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to the Ollantaytambo train station. Then we take the train until we arrive at km. 104 from where we start our trek. We visit the ruins of Chachabamba, and then we start the 4-hour ascent with a spectacular view of the valley and the nature that surrounds the citadel. In the afternoon, we just pass through Machu Picchu and then we take a bus to Aguas Calientes for our overnight stay. (B, L, D)
Day 17. Machu Picchu
In the morning, your guide picks you up from the hotel to take the 30-minute bus to the citadel. We arrive and enter Machu Picchu. You have a private guided tour for approximately 3 hours visiting this forgotten Incan city with its plazas, temples, sacred fountains and terraces. After the tour, you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. Later in the afternoon, you take the train back to Ollantaytambo. (B)
Day 18. Salt Pits of Maras and the Circular Terraces of Moray
First, we stop in Moray, a group of circular terraces that have the form of an amphitheater, which are believed to be used as storages. Then we visit the salt pits of Maras, a group of salt ponds which color varies from white to a light reddish or brownish tan, depending on the skill of the individual worker. Finally, we visit the town of Chincheros, a small Andean Village that is very popular because of its market, and then we are transferred to Cusco. (B)
Distance: 62 km.
Day 19. The Rainbow Mountain and the Red Valley
Very early in the morning, we go for a 3-hour drive to the bottom of the Ausangate Mountain to start the 3-hour ascent to the top in order to see “the Rainbow Mountain”. We rest and enjoy the view. Then we go back down and finally back to Cusco. This ascent is very demanding since you hike up to 5200 meters. (B, L)
Distance: 160 km.
Day 20. Heading to the Rainforest
We pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to the city of Puerto Maldonado. On our way, we can notice how the aspect of the landscape starts changing since we are heading to lower altitudes and getting closer to sea level, going from the highlands to the rainforest. (B)
Distance: 478 km.
Day 21. Refugio Amazonas Lodge
We travel for ten minutes to the Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in the gardens, they ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at their safe deposit. This helps them keep the boats and cargo light. Skirting Puerto Maldonado, they drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a communal business. The boat ride from the Tambopata Port to the Refugio Amazonas lodge takes us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3-million-hectare conservation unit.
Upon arrival, the lodge manager welcomes you and briefs you with important navigation and security tips. You have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but difficult to see. Easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories. (B, L, D)
The car returns to Lima today.
Distance from Puerto Maldonado to Lima: 1525 km
Day 22. Tambopata Research Center
Four and a half hours by boat from the lodge, in the pristine heart of the reserve, lies the Tambopata Research Center. One and a half hours into our boat journey, as we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we leave behind the final traces of human habitation. Within the 700,000-hectare, uninhabited nucleus of the reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent. Two hours away from Refugio Amazonas, deep in the Tambopata National Reserve, we stop at the Chuncho clay lick. After a short walk (5 minutes), we have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium-rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho clay lick probably attracts more large macaws than any other clay lick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. The details of our stopover depend on the weather and the amount of macaw activity, as the birds do not visit the clay lick when it is raining. Upon arrival, the lodge manager welcomes you and briefs you with important navigation and security tips. A three-to-five-kilometer hike leads us to commanding magnificent views of the Tambopata, winding its way into the lowlands. The forest on this trail, regenerating on old bamboo forest, is good for howler monkeys and dusky Titi monkeys. After dinner, scientists provide an in-depth look at the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories for clay lick use, their breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations and the threats to their conservation. (B, L D)
Day 23. Tambopata Research Center
On most clear mornings of the year, dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters off the cliff, we observe green-winged, scarlet and blue-and-gold macaws and several species of smaller parrots descending to ingest clay. Outings are at dawn when the lick is most active. This five-kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense trees crisscrossed by creeks and ponds. Amongst the figs, ceibas and shihuahuacos, we look for squirrels, brown capuchins, and spider monkeys as well as peccaries. Tambopata Research Center is located within this habitat. Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy ducks, sunbittern and hoatzins along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond their home. You have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but rarely seen. Much easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories. (B, L, D)
Day 24. Flight back to Lima
We retrace our river and road journeying back to Puerto Maldonado, our office and the airport. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures. We take the afternoon flight back to Lima. Upon arrival, we are taken to the hotel. (B)
Day 25. Departure
At a proper time, we pick you up from the hotel and transfer you to the airport to take your international flight. (B)
- Activities & Entrances:
- Tour to Pachacamac (private service)
- Traditional fishing in Pucusana (private service)
- Tour to Ballestas Islands (shared service)
- Tour to the National Reserve of Paracas (private service)
- Visit the wine and pisco cellars (private service)
- Sandboard and buggies in Huacachina (private service)
- Overflight of the Nasca lines (shared service)
- Tour to Cahuachi (private service)
- Tour to San Fernando Reserve (private service)
- Visit the Pampa Galeras (private service)
- Trek in Cotahuashi (private service)
- City tour in Arequipa with Santa Catalina (private service)
- Trek of 3 days and 2 nights in the Colca Canyon (private service)
- Tour to Uros and Taquile islands (private service)
- Visit Sillustani, Pucara museum, Raqchi and Andahuaylillas (private service)
- City tour in Cusco and surroundings (private service)
- Tour to the Sacred Valley (private service)
- Short Inca trail of 2 days (private service)
- Tour in Machu Picchu (private service)
- Tour to Maras, Moray and Chincheros (private service)
- Tour to the Rainbow Mountain (private service)
- Activities in the jungle of 4 days and 3 nights (shared service)
- All entrances, guide and tickets for all the places.
- All transfers to/from airports and train/bus stations
- Private 4×4 Totoya 4 Runner SUV with English speaker driver in almost all the trip
- Shuttle bus: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu round trip
- Train from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo
- Transfer from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado in the 4 Runner
- Flight from Puerto Maldonado to Lima
The 4×4 Toyoya 4 Runner SUV travels with you approximately 4610 km or 2864 miles
The car travels in total 6135 km or 3812 miles, including the travel from Puerto Maldonado to Lima
Double room in these hotels:
Lima: Second Home
Paracas: La Hacienda
Nasca: Casa Andina
Cusco: Hotel Los Niños
Ollantaytambo: El Albergue
Aguas Calientes: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Puerto Maldonado: Puerto Amazonico
Rainforest: Tambopata Research Center
- All breakfasts (at the hotels)
- Other meals mentioned in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Full board in the jungle and during the Colca trek
- Full board at the Tambopata Research Center
- Professional local English-speaking guides
- Professional English-speaking driver
- Support from Vamos Expeditions staff 24/7
- Other food not mentioned above (our guides will give you good advice on where to eat well)
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses, extra activities and tips.
- International flights
Please contact us.
We will craft and tailor the perfect dream journey for you.
Every trip helps support local conservation and social projects.
We will take care of all the details and logistics for you