From the colonial cliffs of Lima to the cobbled streets of Cusco, to the sweeping valleys of the Colca Canyon, Travel with taste: Peru’s spellbinding South is a dynamic two-week private journey that promises the ultimate Peruvian adventure.  This carefully crafted itinerary has been purposefully designed to combine the most famous of Peru’s cities, Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa, with the tailormade experiences that only Aracari can offer, from foodie heaven at MIL – the Sacred Valley restaurant of gastronomic mastermind Virgilio Martinez, to an authentic lunch cooked by the villagers of Lake Titicaca’s indigenous communities.

This unique itinerary covers fascinating history, breathtaking natural phenomena, exceptional culinary adventure, and meaningful cultural interaction with a place and its people. All whilst incorporating overnight stays in some of Peru’s most premium luxury hotels.

Along with a visit to Machu Picchu and a variety of experiences in the breathtaking Sacred Valley this private, tailormade itinerary can of course be curated to match your own interests and style

Highlights

  • Explore Lima’s rich history and enjoy a gourmet lunch in the bohemian district of Barranco.
  • Visit the Inca sites of Maras and Moray, before enjoying an optional foodie afternoon at MIL – the restaurant of Virgilio Martinez.
  • Alight the luxurious Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu and explore one of the world's most important archaeological sites
  • Discover the secrets of Arequipa accompanied by Aracari's own Viceregal Art expert, before unraveling the city’s fabulous food scene

Daily Summary 14 Days / 13 Nights

Day 1 Lima Welcome to Peru’s magnificent capital. Let your Aracari representative take care of all your arrival procedures as you settle into your first night in Lima at the luxurious Hotel B or the charming Atemporal.
Day 2 Lima Explore the rich history of this coastal capital during our experience ‘How Peru Came To Be’ and enjoy a gourmet lunch of your choosing in the bohemian district of Barranco. Return to Hotel B or Atemporal.
Day 3 Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley Fly to the historic city of Cusco in the Sacred Valley and visit ancient Pisac, exploring the sights and smells of the famous market in the mountains. Overnight at Sol y Luna or Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba.
Day 4 Sacred Valley Visit the Inca sites of Maras and Moray, before enjoying a foodie afternoon at either Hacienda Huayoccari or at MIL – the restaurant of Virgilio Martinez, mastermind behind Lima’s world-renowned restaurant Central. Alternatively, if adventure is more your thing - trek through Andean villages, paddleboard on crystal-clear lakes, or mountain bike through the valley. Overnight at Sol y Luna or Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba.
Day 5 Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu Alight the luxurious Hiram Bingham train to Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu, before spending the day exploring the iconic ruins of one of the world's most important archaeological sites with a specialist Aracari guide. Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo or Belmond Sanctuary Lodge.
Day 6 Machu Picchu – Cusco Return to Machu Picchu with your private guide, hiking to the Sun Gate, Huayna Picchu, or Machu Picchu Mountain, offering spectacular panoramic views. Afterward, take the Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo for your private transfer to Cusco. Overnight at Palacio Manco Capac or Palacio Nazarenas, a Belmond Hotel.
Day 7 Cusco Take in the charm of Cusco's cobbled streets and key landmarks with a private experience led by our expert, followed by a delicious BBQ atop an Incan wall prepared by your very own professional chef. Overnight at Palacio Manco Capac or Palacio Nazarenas Belmond Hotel.
Day 8 Cusco – Lake Titicaca Journey from Cusco to the culturally rich region of Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake at 4000 ft / 1219 m above sea level and meet the myriad of communities who inhabit these gentle shores. Overnight at Amantica Lodge or Titilaka.
Day 9 Lake Titicaca Discover what life is like in the traditional villages surrounding Lake Titicaca, including the unique floating reed island of Uros, home to a fishing and hunting community as well as other remote communities around the Lake. Overnight at Amantica Lodge or Titilaka.
Day 10 Lake Titicaca – Colca Take the scenic drive in a private vehicle from Lake Titicaca to Colca, driving through one of Peru’s most dramatic natural landscapes, viewing herds of wild vicunas (wild camelid) you traverse the High-Altitude Savannah or “Puna”. Soon you will descend into a more fertile landscape scattered with a lost paradise of Spanish villages, snow-capped mountains, and active volcanos. Overnight at Colca Lodge or Belmond Las Casitas.
Day 11 Colca Valley & Canyon Explore more of the vast Colca Valley and its colonial past, either via hike or horseback, before bearing witness to the soaring condors native to the region. Overnight at Colca Lodge or Belmond Las Casitas.
Day 12 Colca – Arequipa Journey from Colca to Arequipa, ‘The White City’ via private vehicle, glimpsing of the quintessential scene of the Peruvian Andes, dotted with traditional farm life activity. Overnight at the elegant and atmospheric Cirqa, one of our favorite hotels in Peru.
Day 13 Arequipa – Lima Discover the secrets of ‘The White City’ accompanied by our specialist guide, the Minister of Culture in Arequipa, before unraveling the city’s fabulous foodie scene and visiting some of the top restaurants that call Arequipa home for a magical final night in Peru. Overnight Cirqa Hotel.
Day 14 Lima - Departure Transfer to Arequipa airport for your domestic flight to Lima International Airport, before heading home on your international flight – full of a sense of Peruvian adventure!
  • Day 1
    LimaView on map
    Arrival in Peru

    Your Aracari representative will welcome you to Peru, should you wish - greeting you on the runway tarmac as you alight from your plane.

    You’ll be presented with your welcome pack, before being whisked off to your hotel, where we will assist with all check-in procedures.

     

    Accommodation options
  • Day 2
    LimaView on map
    Explore the rich history of the coastal capital and enjoy lunch in the bohemian district of Barranco.

    Today you will learn more about the complex history of Peru during our experience, How Peru Came To Be. This full-day adventure will see you delve deep into the history of the country and its capital, exploring everything from artifacts to architecture, to unearth the secrets of its fascinating past.

    You’ll be collected from your hotel by your Aracari guide and driver, heading to your first stop, the charming Pedro de Osma Museum in the district of Barranco, taking just 10-minutes by car from your hotel.  Once the home of a Peruvian aristocrat and passionate collector of viceregal art, Pedro de Osma, Pedro de Osma Museum is a beautiful early 20th-century mansion. Today, the house has been lovingly restored into a private museum, housing an invaluable collection of Peruvian art, spanning from the 5th to the 18th century.

    This intimate, family-run museum is most famously known for its collection of viceregal art – with whole rooms dedicated to different features of the style, such as Madonna’s and archangels. However, the museum also has an incredibly rare and exclusive display of antiquities that remains relatively undiscovered by the public. This collection of fascinating artifacts contains pottery, metalwork, and textiles from multiple Peruvian cultures, dating from as far back as 500BC – such as the Quero ceramic vases of the Tiwanaku culture.

    Once you have concluded your tour of the museum, you’ll head for an early lunch in Barranco. One of the city’s most eclectic districts, the food options here are varied, ranging from fine dining to local tavernas. It’s also home to many of Aracari’s favorite dining destinations too including the family-run Isolina restaurant. Whatever takes your fancy, we can make the reservation – and you’ll enjoy a delicious meal before moving on to the afternoons’ discoveries.

    After lunch, you’ll travel 30 minutes by car into the center of Lima. Here you’ll begin to further unravel Peru’s multifaceted history and discover the complex past of the city with a visit to an ancient adobe pyramid right in the heart of Lima. Huaca Huallamarca, which dates to around 200 BC, served a variety of functions, including a religious temple and a cemetery, for the populations that inhabited the area.

    You’ll then continue your journey to the colonial area of Lima featuring the Cathedral, the Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Main Square with its beautiful neo-colonial style buildings. You will also have a chance to visit Casa Aliaga, reportedly the oldest home on the continent and one that is still family-owned after 17 generations.

    Of course, should you wish to visit a particular site such as La Casona de San Marcos; the Convent of San Francisco and its catacombs; Huaca Pucllana; or the Museo de la Inquisition – this can be arranged for you. It’s also possible to organize private cocktails at Casa Aliaga too if you’re interested in an afternoon tipple.

    Once you’ve finished exploring the rich history found in this part of Lima, your Aracari guide and driver will take you via private transfer back to your hotel, taking around 45 minutes

    Accommodation options
  • Day 3
    Lima - Cusco - Sacred ValleyView on map
    Visit ancient Pisac and explore the sights and smells of the famous market in the mountains.

    Today you’ll fly to Cusco, assisted by our representatives in Lima who will take care of all check-in procedures for your domestic flight. Upon arrival in the mountainous region of Cusco, you will be met by another member of our team and be driven to the Sacred Valley. On route, you will stop at Awanacancha camelid ranch, a traditional Peruvian farm where you will be invited to meet the herds of native llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos.

    Once back on the road, you will continue onto the famous Pisac market and ruins. As you meander through the sights and smells of the market stalls, you’ll be able to purchase fresh produce and street food, as well as traditional handmade art and crafts. The Inca masonry at Pisac is also wonderfully preserved, and you’ll learn about its history as you take in views of the incredible mountain terraces below.

    Continue then onto the Sol y Luna hotel and spa, where you can spend the evening relaxing, taking in your blissful soundings deep in the Sacred Valley.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 4
    Sacred ValleyView on map
    Discover Pre-Columbian Maras and Moray followed by a gourmet foodie experience.

    This morning, you’ll head for a guided visit of the breathtaking Maras salt pans, which have been in use since Pre-Incan times. As well as stopping at the enigmatic Inca terraces of Moray. Likely used for agricultural experimentation, Moray consists of several enormous circular terraces, which are truly a sight to behold.

    Afterward, there are two foodie options to choose from for lunch.

    The first is the option to journey to Hacienda Huayoccari for a three-course lunch in a magnificent traditional hacienda, the home of one of the oldest land-owning families in Cusco. You’ll be welcomed inside by a member of the family, and guided through their impressive private collection of paintings, carved wood, glazed pottery from Lake Titicaca, Toritos of Pucará, colonial saints, and silver pieces, dating from pre-Inca, Inca, Viceregal and Republican times. (You can see a preview of this marvelous collection in a webinar recorded live from Hacienda Huayoccari during the pandemic). You’ll then head out into the breathtaking grounds to enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch prepared by the family’s chef.

    An alternative foodie experience is a trip to MIL – the Sacred Valley restaurant of Virgilio Martinez, the mastermind behind Lima’s world-renowned restaurant Central. With its simple and clean architecture, the restaurant is built right above the circular Inca terraces of Moray.

    During your visit, Aracari guests can opt for the one-of-a-kind tasting menu. Each of the 8 courses within this exquisite menu reflects the 8 different ecosystems found at the restaurant’s high altitude of 3,600 m / 11,800 ft. Virgilio Martinez has been experimenting with cooking at this altitude for many years and has worked extremely closely with three nearby indigenous communities, exploring their techniques for farming, growing, and cooking in this remote region. You’ll be invited to see the on-site food labs and hear how Virgilio has made close connections with the locals, investing in an irrigation system that cleans the water to feed the crops the communities grow. In return, the communities provide crops for the restaurant.

    If it’s a more adventurous experience that piques your interest, then instead you can spend the afternoon on a guided trek through the Sacred Valley from Chinchero to Huayllabamba village. This short, downhill hike begins in Chinchero, a small Andean village with colonial buildings, original Inca streets, and impressive Inca walls, and follows a stream until it eventually meets the Vilcanota River. The route maps an incredibly well-preserved Inca Trail to the small village of Huayllabamba and is perfect for families due to its relative ease. A box lunch is included in the experience and the total trek is about 7-8 kilometers (4.3-5 miles), which is approximately three to four hours of hiking.

    You can also choose to paddleboard in the surrounding crystal-clear lakes, and mountain bike through the terrain of the Sacred Valley. After the exhilarating experience, you’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch on the shores of the lake, before starting your downhill mountain biking adventure. By crossing the landscape on two wheels, you’ll begin to understand more about why the land here is so sacred to the ancient Inca people and why here they felt close to the ‘Pachamama’, Mother Earth.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 5
    Sacred Valley – Machu PicchuView on map
    Alight a luxury steam train to the wonder of the ancient world: Machu Picchu

    This morning you will board the luxurious Hiram Bingham train to Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu. Aboard this deluxe steam train, you’ll start your day of adventure with a gourmet brunch, prepared by the experienced team of chefs. And as you sip on your morning coffee, you’ll glide through the spectacular Valley passing through the lush landscape and traditional Andean villages.

    Spend the afternoon exploring the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the world's most important archaeological sites. Set among mist-shrouded mountains, this man-made marvel has become a symbol of the ingenuity and prosperity of one of the most expansive empires in Latin American history: the Incas. Your expert guide will explain the history and purpose of this awe-inspiring site during a 2-3 hour guided visit.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 6
    Machu Picchu – CuscoView on map
    Take in the sublime beauty of Machu Picchu

    Return to Machu Picchu with your guide today, hiking to the Sun Gate, Huayna Picchu, or Machu Picchu Mountain, offering spectacular panoramic views. Afterward, take the bus back to the town of Aguas Calientes to catch the Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo for your private transfer to Cusco, taking approximately 2 hours. Or, upgrade to the luxurious Hiram Bingham train for your ride to the ancient city. Then check in to your blissful hotel suite in Cusco for an evening of restful relaxation.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 7
    CuscoView on map
    Explore ancient and artistic Cusco, followed by a private BBQ dinner

    You’ll start your exploration of Cusco on foot, beginning at the Plaza de Armas, the Main Square which is marked by the exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture and ornamentation imposed by Spanish colonists to exert religious and political influence.  From here you’ll visit Koricancha, the ‘Sun Temple’, the Cathedral - a repository for Cusco’s colonial art.

    You’ll head next to the colorful San Pedro Market and the charming neighborhood of San Blas, before finally arriving at Sacsayhuaman, an Inca citadel atop a hill, on the outskirts of the city. Not only are the imposing terraces of masterful stonework a sight to behold, but the vistas overlooking the sienna rooftops of Cusco provide a whole new perspective to the city you’ve just traversed.

    After a day of exploring, you’ll go to one of our favorite spots in the city, atop an Inca wall, offering panoramic views of Cusco. It’s here you’ll be treated to a private BBQ dinner with your own dedicated cook. Sample a variety of local meats – including alpaca – accompanied by fresh, leafy salads from the on-site vegetable garden for hearty, home-cooking at its best.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 8
    Cusco – Lake TiticacaView on map
    Journey to the culturally rich region of Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake

    Today your Aracari representative will meet you at your hotel to accompany you to Cusco airport for your domestic flight to Juliaca. Upon arrival at the Juliaca airport, you will be welcomed by an Aracari representative and take a private transfer of approximately one hour. Alternatively, you can opt to take a full-day train from Cusco to Puno on Lake Titicaca.

    At nearly 4000 ft / 1219 m above sea level, located between the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands, Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake. Its gentle shores are home to a myriad of communities, each with its own specific customs and traditions. It’s this part of Peru that is often considered to have one of the richest folkloric histories in all of the country. With rugged landscapes, calm lapping water, and crisp highland air, a visit to Lake Titicaca is both a serene and educational experience, providing a unique look into the cultural variety and native wildlife that exists here.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 9
    Lake TiticacaView on map
    Discover what life is like in the traditional villages surrounding Lake Titicaca

    Today you will explore the shores of Lake Titicaca, including the floating reed island of Uros, home to a fishing and hunting community.

    We also recommend exploring the community of Llachon island, where the indigenous populations, adorned in their traditional attire, are famous for their weaving techniques. Enjoy a traditional lunch in a local house specially prepared and hosted by the Community of Santa Maria. Located on the Capachica Peninsula and home to some of the most traditional communities in the Altiplano, this lesser-known community consists mainly of farmers and fishermen. It’s here you will be able to spend time getting to know the lovely village and its people.

    If staying at Titilaka, you’ll instead explore Taquile Island’s rich textile tradition. Declared a part of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, Taquile’s textiles are emblematic of the local living culture. As the island enjoys a privileged microclimate, you’ll likely see men weaving wonderful textile pieces outdoors. Enjoy a picnic with views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 10
    Lake Titicaca – ColcaView on map
    Take the scenic drive from Lake Titicaca to Colca through one of Peru’s most dramatic natural landscapes

    You will be collected from your hotel in Lake Titicaca by private car, setting out for the Colca Valley and a journey of approximately six hours. Along the way, you’ll pass the charming rural towns of Juliaca, Santa Lucía, and Imata, before driving along the coast of Lake Lagunilla, catching a glimpse of its variety of wild birds and flora. Throughout the journey, your driver will stop for photo opportunities in the stunning landscape where the Peruvian Andes offer the perfect postcard backdrop.

    The Colca River, considered by a recent National Geographic survey to be the source of the Amazon, cuts a sensational scar through the mountains for more than 50 km / 31 miles and is surrounded by a lost paradise of Spanish Villages. In fact, the Colca Valley and Canyon (3,650 m / 11,975 ft) constitute one of Peru's most dramatic and spectacular natural landscapes – best explored by land, just as you will do today.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 11
    Colca Valley & CanyonView on map
    Explore the vast Colca Valley and bear witness to the soaring condors native to the region

    This morning you can choose from a range of activities in the Colca Canyon. Perhaps explore on-foot opting for one of the region’s many beautiful hikes, whether it’s a gentle walk to Uyo Uyo Ruins, a moderate hike through Canocota Canyon, or a steep trek to Madrigal Chimpa Fortress. Alternatively, get to know the locals by helping with daily tasks such as farming with a rural community-based tourism project. Horse-riding is also available if you prefer to explore on the world-renowned Peruvian Paso horse.

    In the afternoon, you and your guide will journey firstly to the recently renovated colonial church of Lari before driving further down the valley toward the famous Condor Cross to view the majestic condor in flight. The Andean condor has an average wingspan of 3m (10ft) and is one of the largest land flying birds in the world. Although it cannot be 100% guaranteed that they will show up, you will have a very high chance of observing the condor from this vantage point.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 12
    Colca Valley – ArequipaView on map
    Journey through the breathtaking Altiplano to reach the marvelous city of Arequipa

    This morning, your guide will collect you from your hotel in the Colca Valley to start your journey through wonderful scenery and traditional towns on the road to Arequipa. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a magnificent lookout point, where you’ll have a perfect view of the snow-capped mountains and active volcanos. Afterward, you will continue through a forest filled with interesting rock formations and the Pampa of Cañahuas – before catching a glimpse of the quintessential scene of the Peruvian Andes, dotted with traditional farm life activity. You’ll then continue your journey to Arequipa, ‘The White City’ – a journey of approximately four hours.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 13
    ArequipaView on map
    Discover the secrets of ‘the white city’ and uncover its fabulous foodie scene

    Nestled at the foot of El Misti volcano, Arequipa (2,335 m / 7,660 ft) or ‘The White City’ is famous for being Peru’s second-largest city, and for its construction using chalk-white volcanic stone known as sillar. The charming colonial architecture, interesting sites, and the five nearby volcanoes have awarded Arequipa the title of UNESCO World Heritage city, and today you will have the opportunity to explore some of the best that the area has to offer.

    Take in the Santa Teresa Convent, a former religious center that has been converted into a Colonial Art Museum, where you can optionally be guided by the city’s most renowned Viceregal Art expert and an Aracari specialist. Aracari’s subject specialists aren’t simply guides, but rather leading researchers and professors, hugely influential people in their field of work.

    You’ll also visit the Santa Catalina monastery, the pride of Arequipa. This expansive 29,426 square meter convent was founded in 1580 and is a masterpiece of Colonial architectural design. Afterward, you will be taken to the Santuarios Andinos Museum, where the body of Juanita, a frozen girl, is on display. Uncovered atop Ampato Mountain in 1995, Juanita was a teenage girl sacrificed to the Inca gods in the 1400s and is eerily well-preserved.

    And that’s not all. Arequipa is also a fabulous foodie destination, and home to some of the country’s best restaurants and regional delicacies. The city itself is something of an anomaly, being halfway between the coast and the heights of the Andes. Typical dishes from the Arequipa region include ají de lacayote (made using a local variety of squash) and adobo arequipeño (a juicy dish of pork, rocoto, chicha de jora and red onions). Many of these dishes can be found in one of the city’s picanterias, which are always busy with locals and serve enormous portions! Aracari will guide you through the city’s famous foodie scene, making all the necessary reservations for a magical final night in Peru.

    Accommodation options
  • Day 14
    Arequipa - LimaView on map
    Head home feeling full of adventure

    You will be met at your hotel by our Aracari representative and transferred to Arequipa airport for your domestic flight to Lima International Airport. We will assist you with everything you need for your international departure.

Journey pricing as of 2022

Basic Pricing - US$7,700 per person

This is a sample journey and can be tailored to your interests and travel style.

  • Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
  • Price is per person for the full 14-day itinerary
  • Based on Hotel Selection 1: Atemporal, Sol Y Luna, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, Palacio Manco Capac, Libertador Lake Titicaca, Colca Lodge, Casa Andinda Premium Arequipa
  • Discounted children's rates on request
Premium Pricing - US$10,200 per person

The alternative pricing is based on the same journey with upgraded accommodations showcasing the best luxury hotels that destination has to offer.

  • Based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy
  • Price is per person for the full 14-day itinerary
  • Based on Hotel Selection 2: Belmond Miraflores Park, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Palacio del Inka, Titilaka, Belmond Las Casitas, Libertador Arequipa
  • Discounted children's rates on request

What's Included?

This journey is based on two people travelling together in double or twin occupancy, excluding flights (international and domestic).

  • Includes all specified services in the journey description
  • All transfers and entrance fees
  • A welcome pack on arrival including: a pre-loaded cell phone to contact your travel consultant at any time, a printed booklet packed with insider tips alongside your detailed journey and up-to-date recommendations on dining and shopping
  • Hand-selected English-speaking guides
  • Specialist guides (where noted)
  • 24-hour support from our locally based team
  • 13 nights in a hand-picked and personally tested selection of Peru’s finest hotels

What's not Included?

  • Domestic flights (quoted separately).
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Tips.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • International Flights and airport taxes.
  • Neither personal expenses nor any other service not specified in the itinerary.
Travel with taste: Peru’s spellbinding South
A dynamic two-week private journey