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Southern Peru

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Southern Peru

From the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca, birthplace of the Inca Empire, to the barren, volcanic mountain peaks of the southern highland’s lunar-like terrain, Southern Peru is a cornucopia of legend, archaeology and spectacular, pristine nature. Join International Expeditions’ newest small-group Peru tour taking in the history and nature of Southern Peru and the Bolivian islands.

Combine Archaeology & Nature

IE’s new Peru and Bolivia tour takes you to the ornate colonial city of Arequipa and vibrant Puno before delving deep into the virtually unpopulated reaches of the Amazon. Along the way you see pre-Inca archaeological sites, elegant Colonial architecture and an unmatched array of brilliant wildlife. Watch for caiman, howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, giant river otters, toucans and side-necked turtles as you explore the rich bioviersity of the Tambopata Reserve and the surrounding areas. You'll even ascend into the canopy to watch for woodpeckers, trogons and three-toed sloths.

Come See Colca Canyon

The astounding Colca Canyon is the result of a rift that cuts more than 10,000 feet into the Earth’s surface, over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. In this remote, stark region, indigenous wildlife such as the rare and extremely shy vicuñas, as well as their relatives the llama and alpaca roam in herds, while the giant shadow of the Andean condor is cast over the sunlit mountainsides.

Love Lake Titicaca & Bolivia

Step back in time as you spend three days exploring the Peruvian and Bolivian islands of Lake Titicaca. As you travel among the totora reed islands, visit ancient villages, learn how the skilled weavers of Taquile work secret messages about social standing into the patterns of their colorful garments, and even drink from a legendary fountain said to hold the key to eternal youth and happiness.

What is Custom Travel? This itinerary is only a small sample of options in Peru and Bolivia. Every traveler can envision their ideal way to see the world. International Expeditions’ experienced Custom Travel Planners create individually tailored tours that match your style of travel, budget and timeline. Tell us the dates you wish to travel, and we’ll take care of the details. 

Daily Itinerary

Southern Peru Itinerary

  • Day
    1

    U.S. / Lima

    Fly independently to Lima, Peru, the nation’s capital and largest city, and transfer to the Costa del Sol Wyndham for the night. (Meals Aloft)

  • Day
    2

    Lima / Arequipa

    Board a morning flight to Arequipa, known as the “White City.” At an elevation of 7,500 feet, Arequipa is surrounded by the towering peaks of El Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu. After checking into the boutique Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa, our guide briefs us on the activities planned for the coming days. The afternoon is at leisure to acclimate to the altitude or explore the colonial streets and colorful courtyard markets on your own. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant, where you can sample local fare. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    3

    Arequipa / Colca Canyon

    Enjoy a full day tour of colonial Arequipa, including the Plaza de Armas, one of the most beautiful in all Peru. There is ample time to visit Arequipa Cathedral, La Compania and San Francisco churches. This afternoon, we explore the 16th century Monasterio de Santa Catalina. Completely closed to outside visitors for almost 400 years, this magnificent convent has been the scene of many historic and religious events. Its medieval streets, named for ancient Spanish cities, branch out into hidden lanes and cells of varying types and sizes. For centuries nuns lived their whole lives here, isolated from the rest of the world. Visit the Santuario Andino Museum – or the Juanita Museum. Here you meet the mummies of four young girls who were apparently sacrificed to appease the Inca gods, their bodies mummified by the cold weather. The mummy of 14-year-old Juanita was found in 1995 near the summit of Mount Ampato by a local climber. When a neighboring volcano erupted, the ice holding Juanita in her tomb melted and she rolled partway down the mountain. Leave Arequipa driving through Yura, a district characterized by rugged scenery, hills and ravines. Enter Pampa Cañahuas Reserve, an extensive plain where we may see vicuñas, the indigenous Andean camelid that is a national symbol of Peru. Travel to Vizcachani, Pampas de Toccra, up to the crater of the volcano Chucura and on to Mirador de los Andes at Patapampa (15,748 feet above sea level) where the volcanoes surrounding Arequipa can be seen. Continue to Colca Lodge, our home for two nights. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    4

    Colca Canyon

    This morning, depart the lodge early to visit the towns of Yanque, Maca, Achoma and Pinchollo. Proceed to the "Condors' Cross" observation point from where you can view these great Andean birds. Enjoy an impressive panorama of the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world (9,800 ft.). After lunch you visit the village of Coporaque and the Colcas at Chininia, incredible pre-Inca constructions on natural vertical faces. From there you go to the vantage point and amphitheater at Ocolle, followed by a short walk to the little-explored ruins at Uyo-Uyo before a late afternoon at leisure. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    5

    Colca Canyon / Puno

    Watch for vicuñas and stunning white flamingoes around sky-blue lakes drying their wings in the icy wind at over 13,000 feet as we drive through the Aguada Blanca National Reserve. En route, we admire petrified forests and beautiful pre-Columbian terraces still being cultivated by native Collaguas. Stop at the Sillustani, with its circular burial towers or chullpas overlooking the Lago Umayo. These tall chullpa-funerary towers were burial grounds of the Lords of the Colla, one of the great lake kingdoms of the altiplano. The age of the funeral towers, which are up to 40 feet high, remains a puzzle. This afternoon, enjoy a city tour beginning at the Plaza de Armas and Puno’s market. Continue our guided exploration of Puno. Spend tonight at the Casa Andina Private Collection Puno. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    6

    Lake Titicaca: Peruvian Islands

    Enjoy the day on Lake Titicaca. Surrounded by water, sky and the snow-capped Andes, experience what life is like on the highest navigable lake in the world. Depart early in the morning via speedboat for the floating islands of Uros, where the inhabitants still live as they did centuries ago, on floating islands they make with the totora reeds that grow on the lake. Continue towards Taquile Island to visit the small town inhabited by Quechua speaking natives who have, over the generations, developed both an efficient and original social system as well as a refined hand-weaving technique. Lunch will be served in a local home. After lunch continue to explore the island taking in the magnificent views of Lake Titicaca. Return to the Casa Andina Puno for the evening. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    7

    Lake Titicaca: Bolivian Islands

    After breakfast, we set out for a full day exploring the Bolivian islands of Lake Titicaca. Stop at the Island of the Moon, the legendary home of an Inca goddess. The island structures were originally built by the pre-Incan Aymara people. During Inca times, the Island of the Moon housed the “Virgins of the Sun.” Continue to the Island of the Sun where, according to legend, Manko Kapak and Mama Ojllo (sun and daughter of the sun god) came to Earth in order to improve the lives of the Andean people and found the Inca Empire. Once on the island, stop at the "Pilcocaina" — sun temple. Visit a local handicraft market before spending the night at the Posada del Inca EcoLodge on the Island of the Sun. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    8

    Copacabana, Bolivia / Puno, Peru

    This morning, climb 206 Inca steps to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the lake and Andes. It is possible to drink water from a sacred fountain, believed to grant eternal youth and happiness. After lunch board a hydrofoil to Copacabana. Once sacred to the Incas, Copacabana is home to the revered statue of Bolivia’s patron saint — La Virgin de la Candelaria. While this small city is far less famous than the beach of the same name in Brazil, Rio’s famed beach was actually named after this town. Tossed in a storm, grateful Brazilian fisherman credited their rescue to the Virgin of Copacabana. Visit the Shrine of Copacabana and the Cathedral before returning to Puno. Check in at Casa Andina Private Collection Puno and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    9

    Puno / Juliaca / Puerto Maldonado / Reserva Amazonica

    Transfer to the airport in nearby Juliaca, where we board our flights to Puerto Maldonado. After a visit to the Inkaterra Butterfly House, continue toward our fabulous lodge – the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica – deep in the heart of the Amazon. During a meandering 45-minute boat ride on the Madre de Dios River, enter the vast jungle of this private reserve. Settle into your accommodations before a naturalist-guided walk along the lodge’s extensive trail system. This leisurely hike provides an excellent introduction to the forest environment, winding past impressive trees such as the staggeringly tall kapok and the strangely beautiful strangler fig, offering excellent opportunities for bird watching and observing exotic insects. After the sun goes down, the rainforest becomes an entirely different place. Boat through the Amazonian ecosystem, learning to interpret the nocturnal sounds of the jungle. Discover the creatures that emerge after dark, including night jars, owls, caimans and capybaras. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    10

    Reserva Amazonica: Sandoval Lake / Tambopata Reserve

    Enjoy a full day in the lush rainforest of Tambopata Reserve, in the foothills of the Peruvian Andes. Board a wooden canoe and glide across the mirror-like waters of Sandoval Lake. This oxbow lake is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, point-tailed palm creepers, anhingas, Cocoi herons and side-neck turtles. As we hike near-by trails, watch for a spectacular variety of mammals, including black spider monkey, red brocket deer and tapir. A highlight of our expedition is seeing rainforest wildlife from a canopy walkway. Steps take us from the forest floor to the first of many suspended bridges and platforms. Here life is searching for light, and many species of orchids, bromeliads and philodendrons provide thick green masses of vegetation. You may see spectacular species like paradise tanagers, thick-billed euphonias and green honeycreepers. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    11

    Reserva Amazonica: Gamitana Creek

    After breakfast, board excursion boats for our journey into the magical world of Gamitana Creek. The sights, scents and sounds of the jungle surround you while rambling through the rainforest along the banks of this winding, dark-water creek that is home to piranha, caimans, turtles and an abundance of brightly colored birds. Learn how local farmers raise their fruits and vegetables. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Gamitana Farm before returning to our lodge for an afternoon at leisure. (B,L,D)

  • Day
    12

    Reserva Amazonica / Lima / En Route

    After one last naturalist-guided nature walk, say good-bye to the Amazon and our friends at the lodge. Transfer to Puerto Maldonado and board our flight to Lima. Once in Lima, connect with your independent flight to the U.S. (B, Meals Aloft)

  • Day
    13

    Arrive U.S.

    Arrive in the U.S. and meet your independent connecting flight home. (Meals Aloft)

Things to Know

What is included in the cost of my Southern Peru tour?

  • Unique and exciting combination of culture, archeology, nature and wildlife
  • Nighttime skiff rides and rainforest walks in the Amazon
  • Cultural interaction at fishing villages and other places along the way
  • Excursion Colca Canyon – stunning scenery, condors, and birds
  • Visit Peruvian islands of Lake Titicaca
  • Excursion and overnight on Bolivian islands of Lake Titicaca
  • Three nights in Tambopata (Amazon) with daily hiking and boating excursions
  • Services of a local Expedition Leader to lead/guide, plus local guides at Tambopata
  • Boutique accommodations
  • 31 meals
  • All tipping except for Expedition Leader
  • All transfers
  • Water included in your room daily, at all lunches and dinners, on all excursions, and on all transfers

Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?

No visas are required for US or Canadian citizens to travel to Peru.

Will I need to a converter?

Electricity in Peru ranges from 110 to 220V AC. Many appliances are dual voltage and can handle 110V to 220V. Guests need to check their appliances to see if a convertor is needed. Guests will need Type G British 3-pin adaptor.

What wildlife will I see on IE’s Southern Peru tour?

While we can never guarantee wildlife sightings, some of the notable species in the areas we visit are:

  • Andean condors
  • Vicunas
  • Flamingos
  • Nightjars
  • Owls
  • Capybara
  • Caiman
  • Red howler monkey
  • Red-bellied macaw
  • Anaconda
  • Point-tailed palm creepers
  • Side-necked turtles
  • Toucans
  • Woodpeckers
  • Trogons
  • Three-toed sloth
Call 800.234.9620
Duration
13 Days, 12 Nights
Trip Type
Expedition Destinations