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3 Weeks in Peru: Best of Southern Peru in 20 Days

During 3 weeks in Peru on this fantastic tour, you will be amazed by the natural beauty, fascinating history, and unique culture of southern Peru.

USD $4,821.00USD $12,057.00

Per Person
escorted | comfort* | basic **
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1

Discover Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca During 3 Weeks in Peru

This 3 weeks in Peru Tour shows you the best of southern Peru. You’ll experience one of the world’s driest deserts and Peru’s only marine national park as you cross the Andes and descend to the Amazon jungle.

Your first tour destination is the Ballestas Islands, home to the world’s most fertile seas and plenty of marine life, thanks to its location where the warm El Niño meets the cold Humboldt current. Fly over the strange Nazca Lines, gigantic geometric designs of animals created by cultures before the Incas. Then explore a deep canyon and the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. Meet the lake’s people and learn about their culture.

Near Cusco, visit the ruins of ancient Inca temples, palaces, and forts, some of which became foundations for Spanish churches. Hike to the Lost City of Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail. You will also get to visit the most biologically diverse place on Earth in the Amazon basin. Join us and see how 3 weeks in Peru will become some of the best travel weeks of your life!

Highlights

  • Watch the sunrise and have plenty of time to explore the famous ancient site of Machu Picchu
  • Get to know the local culture as you stay with a family at Lake Titicaca
  • Connect with nature and history as you hike and camp on the Inca Trail
  • Spot exotic birds at a riverside jungle clay lick

Tour Information

Duration: 20 days / 19 nights
Start and end location: Lima
Availability: Year-round (in February the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and we include an alternative hiking route instead)

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive to Lima and Enjoy a Free Day for Activities of Your Choice
Your 3 weeks in Peru starts as we pick you up at the Lima international airport and take you to your hotel. Then, you will have the remaining hours of the day free for optional sightseeing activities. You will spend the night in Lima.

Day 2 – Ride on the Pan-American Highway to the Coastal Town of Pisco
In the morning, you can explore the lovely colonial center of Lima or visit a fascinating museum. In the afternoon, you will go south by bus for three hours on the Pan-American Highway to the tiny coastal village of Pisco. When you get there, you will rest on the beach and drink a fresh cocktail watching the ocean sunset. You will stay for the night at a Pisco hotel. (B)

Day 3 – Take a Speedboat around the Wildlife-Filled Ballestas Islands and Journey to Nazca
After a delicious breakfast, you will walk to the port. You will take a two-hour speedboat tour of the Ballestas Islands. Along the way to the islands, you will see “El Candelabro”, a mysterious geoglyph of unknown origin.

As you go around the islands in the boat, you can see seal colonies, Humboldt penguins, and thousands of seabirds that live on the rocks of the shores. After going back to the port, you will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant on the beach. Afterward, you will travel through the impressive desert to the village of Nazca. You should arrive there by late afternoon and you will then be dropped off at your hotel. (B)

Day 4 – Fly Above the Nazca Lines and Take a Bus to Arequipa
In the morning, you will explore the interesting and enigmatic Nazca Lines from above in a 30-minute light airplane ride. You will be astounded by this unforgettable flight. Next, you will go to the close-by Nazca culture cemetery and Maria Reiche Site Museum. You can also rest by the pool.

At night, you will take an eight-hour bus ride south on the Pan-American Highway to Arequipa. There, you will be dropped off at your hotel. You will spend the night in Arequipa. Please note that for groups, the night bus ride will be from 21:00 pm to 5:00 am. (B)

Day 5 – Free Day in Arequipa, Where You Can See the Convent of Santa Catalina
Many call Arequipa the “White City”, because many buildings there are made from white volcanic stone. You will have the day free to wander around this beautiful city and acclimate to the elevation (7,920 feet/2,400 meters). Whatever you choose to do, we recommend seeing the colonial-era convent of Santa Catalina. You will spend the night here in Arequipa. (B)

Day 6 – Drive By Volcanoes to the Deep Canyon of Colca
The tour starts early today with a bus ride through southern Peru’s volcanic scenery to Colca (11,200 feet/3,400 meters). Colca is one of the deepest canyons in the world. Along the way, you can see wild alpacas and vicuñas. You will stop by lookout spots to gaze at the beautiful scenery. At night, you will stay in a comfortable lodge on the edge of the canyon. (B)

Day 7 – Spot Gigantic Condors at Colca Canyon and Drive to Puno, by Lake Titicaca
In the early morning, you will take a bus to “Cruz del Condor”, a famous lookout on the edge of the canyon with fantastic vistas of Colca Canyon. From there, you can see magnificent condors as they soar on valley thermals.

Then, you will have lunch and ride by bus for seven hours through Peru’s southern Andes to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca (12,550 feet/3,800 meters). Upon arrival, you will be dropped off at the hotel. (B)

Day 8 – Navigate Lake Titicaca and Visit Uros and Amantani Islands
After breakfast, you will take a boat to the Uros Floating Reed Islands. From there, enjoy the two-hour cruise on the highest navigable lake in the world to Amantani Island. There, you will stay the night with local people. You will be able to learn about their ancestral traditions and daily life.

In the afternoon, you will go to the highest part of the island to see a beautiful sunset over the lake. If there are no clouds, you can see the distant mountains of the Bolivian Cordillera Real. (B/L/D)

Day 9 – Visit Taquile Island and Get to Know the Island Community
You will enjoy a traditional breakfast in the morning. After saying goodbye to your hosts, you will take a 90-minute lake cruise to close-by Taquile Island. The people living on this island still practice many of the customs and laws of their Inca ancestors. You can explore the community and visit the handicraft center. After a local lunch, you will board the boat to go back to Puno. When you arrive in the late afternoon, you will be dropped off at your hotel. (B/L)

Day 10 – Appreciate the Scenery, Villages, and Inca Ruins as You Take the Bus to Cusco
Your 3 Weeks in Peru tour continues as a scenic bus ride today to Cusco takes you across the Andean highlands. On the way, you will stop for lunch and see points of interest such as Andahuaylillas’ colonial church and Raqchi’s Inca temple for the creator god. When you get to Cusco (10,900 feet/3,300 meters), you will check in to your hotel and relax. (B/L)

Day 11 – Enjoy a Free Day in Cusco
Go shopping, rest, or stroll in the streets on your free day in Cusco. This is where you will spend the night. (B)

Day 12 – Follow the Inca Trail to Llaqtapata and Camp at Huayllabamba
After riding a bus early in the morning, your 3 weeks in Peru continue with a hike, starting at Kilometer 82 of the Inca Trail. From there, you will walk along a gentle trail next to the Urubamba River to the first ancient ruins site at Llaqtapata (8,750 feet/2,650 meters). You will relax for a bit there, then continue on to the Cusichaca Valley. There, you will have a tasty lunch. In the afternoon, you will hike next to Cusichaca Creek, ascending gradually to the first campsite at the town of Huayllabamba (9,900 feet/3,000 meters). (B/L/D)

Day 13 – Climb Warmiwañusca Pass and Admire the Native Flora and Fauna
In the early morning, you will have breakfast and embark on a steep uphill to Warmiwañusca Pass (13,900 feet/4,200 meters). This is the highest point of the Inca Trail. You will get to see different ecological zones and diverse wildlife during the climb. Keep an eye out for native bird species. You will be able to see the Runcuracay Ruins and a great view of the second pass as you go. In the afternoon, you will go down for about two hours to get to the next campsite. If there are no clouds, you can see the glaciers of Mount Veronica from the camp. (B/L/D)

Day 14 – Trek through Mountain Passes and See Ancient Ruins of Sayacmarca and Wiñaywayna
You will get to see a number of interesting sites on this day of your 3 weeks in Peru! The day begins with a hike up to Runcuracay Pass (12,900 feet/3,900 meters). On clear days, you can see the Vilcabamba Mountain Range. Next, you will descend for two hours to the ancient ruins of Sayacmarca. You can explore this archaeological site, then continue down stone Inca trails. The hike takes you through the thick vegetation of the high cloud forest. You can see waterfalls, valleys, canyons, and icy peaks such as Mount Salkantay.

In the afternoon, you will get to the final mountain pass: Phuyupatamarca (11,900 feet/3,600 meters). The pass offers your first sighting of Machu Picchu. Without clouds, the panoramic views are stunning. Next, you will go down a steep Inca stairway to the ruins of Wiñaywayna. Many think of this archaeological site as one of the most beautiful along the Inca Trail, with a fantastic location and interesting architecture. (B/L/D)

Day 15 – Marvel at the Sunrise over Machu Picchu and Tour the Ancient City
You will say goodbye to the Quechua porters after breakfast in the morning. Then, you will go on hiking through the high cloud forest to Intipunku, the famous Sun Gate. This location offers a great view of famous Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas (8,000 feet/2,400 meters). Witness the sunrise here.

When you get to the archaeological site, you will walk around along with an expert guide. Then, you will have free time to explore on your own. In the afternoon, you will go down to the town of Aguas Calientes. You will have the opportunity to rest in natural hot springs and sleep in a comfortable hotel. (B)

Day 16 – Enjoy a Free Day at Machu Picchu and Return to Cusco
Hike in the area and explore Machu Picchu on your own before taking the train back to Cusco in the afternoon. When you get there, you will be taken to your hotel. (B)

Day 17 – Fly to Puerto Maldonado and Take a Boat to the Jungle Lodge
On this day of your 3 weeks in Peru, you will take a 30-minute flight to Puerto Maldonado in the morning. When you arrive, you will be dropped off at the river port. Then, you will take a boat to Posada Amazonas, the rainforest lodge. On the river, you could see native birds. When you get to the lodge, you will get a briefing about the Eseja Ecotourism Project and the lodge. If there is enough time, you will go into the forest in the afternoon to see a local farm. After dinner, you will learn more about Tambopata through a video. (B/L/D)

Day 18 – Admire Lake Wildlife by Canoe and Look Out Over the Forest Canopy
You will rise at dawn to go to Tres Chimbadas Oxbow Lake. Enjoy a relaxing ride on a canoe on the lake, searching for turtles, giant river otters, hoatzins, and wading birds. You will go back to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, you will go on a short path to a tall 115-foot (35-meter) observation tower. You can go up the tower via a secure stairway with support railings. From the top, admire fantastic views of the jungle canopy. (B/L/D)

Day 19 – Approach Exotic Birds at a Clay Lick and Visit a Ethno-Botanic Center
Your 3 weeks in Peru is almost over, but first you will have another fun day in the jungle. After breakfast early in the morning, you will go to a small parrot clay lick. Take amazing pictures of the colorful birds from a blind that was built beside the lick. You can see dozens to hundreds of small parrots and parakeets here as the birds come to eat clay. Next, you will have lunch and go to a community ethno-botanic center. There, you will learn about local culture. In the evening, you will go back to the lodge for dinner. (B/L/D)

Day 20 – Return to Lima
You will take a boat to Puerto Maldonado in the early morning, after breakfast. From there, your 3 weeks in Peru will come to an end as you go to the airport, then take a flight to Lima. (B)

What’s Included

  • Transportation for the 3 weeks in Peru: All domestic flights, buses, and trains
  • Accommodation: 11 nights in a hotel (twin/triple rooms), 1 night bus ride (reclining seats), 1 night island stay (basic, with locals), 3 nights camping (double tents), and 3 nights in a lodge (twin rooms)
  • Tours: As mentioned in the itinerary, including transport, bilingual guide, and entrance fees
  • Inca Trail: Bilingual guide, cook, porters, entrance fees to Machu Picchu, camping equipment (double, dining, and kitchen tents, mats, etc)
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary (B/L/D=breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

What’s Not Included

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Sleeping bags
  • Optional tours, meals, extra services, and tips

Important Notes

  • The fitness level for this 3 Weeks in Peru tour is very active, including high altitude, long distances, and occasional narrow paths with sheer drops.

Map

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Lima Lima, Peru

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Lima Lima, Peru -12.062100, -77.036500

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After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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