The big five of Perú

The big five of Perú

Lima - Puerto Maldonado - Cusco - Puno - Arequipa

The big five of Perú

17 days
Lima - Puerto Maldonado - Cusco - Puno - Arequipa


  • Day 1. To Lima    
  • Day 2. To Puerto Maldonado    
  • Day 3. Puerto Maldonado    
  • Day 4. To Cusco / Yucay The Legacy Km 0    
  • Day 5. Pumamarca Hike    
  • Day 6. Kay Mapi 2D/1N    
  • Day 7. HuaynaPicchu or MachuPicchu Mountain / Cusco    
  • Day 8. Cusco Archeological AM / Cusco City Walk PM    
  • Day 9. South Valley AM / To Puno PM    
  • Day 10. Uros Taquile    
  • Day 11. Sillustani / To Colca    
  • Day 12. Colca / To Arequipa    
  • Day 13. Arequipa City / To Paracas    
  • Day 14. Paracas    
  • Day 15. Overflight Ica    
  • Day 16. To Lima / City + Larco PM    
  • Day 17. Out    

Day 1. Lima

International Arrival and transfer to hotel 

A representative from Andean Exclusive Tours will be waiting for you at Lima Airport with a sign bearing your name. Once you meet the representative, they will take you to your hotel for check-in, for which you will only need to present your passport, as all hotel reservations will be confirmed prior to your arrival. Our representative will provide you with a briefing of your trip and will answer any questions you may have.     

Lima city of kings

Day 2. Puerto Maldonado

Puerto Maldonado

On this day, we will take the connecting flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival, our representative will take you to board a 45-minute boat journey along the Madre de Dios River, offering you the opportunity to witness the Peruvian Amazon. We will arrive at the Inka Terra Amazonica lodge, where you will spend the night. Once settled into the lodge, relax and enjoy your lunch in the dining area. In the afternoon, you can choose from 14 different excursions, and for your first day, we recommend:

Twilight River Excursion

In the jungle, nocturnal animals differ from those of the daytime, and on this excursion, we can revel in a nocturnal paradise during a boat ride on the Madre de Dios River. We will learn about their habits and observe nightjars, owls, capybaras, and caimans.

Following your return from your excursion, enjoy dinner, served in the main dining room from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. After dinner, you may retire early to your own cabaña, or join in on a talk about the experience of life in the rainforest, as you listen to the intriguing sounds of the jungle at night.

Puerto Maldonado Peru

Day 3. Puerto Maldonado

Canoe Tour on Lake Sandoval

This day begins with a delicious treat offered by the lodge starting at 5:30 am. After a rest, we will head to Lake Sandoval in the Tambopata National Reserve, from where we will embark on a canoe to admire the beautiful mirror-like lake and appreciate the wildlife. We may see howler monkeys, giant river otters, macaws, anacondas, turtles, and caimans.

Canopy Walk and Anaconda Walk

After lunch, we will ascend the Canopy Tower, which is a network of towers and bridges reaching a height of 29 meters, allowing you to be at the treetop level and walk literally among the rainforest canopy. This expedition lasts approximately 1 hour on average. You can observe toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, solitary birds, and long-tailed birds.

Canopy tower Puerto Maldonado

We then continue with the Anaconda Walk, which is a 200-meter-long wooden bridge over water swamps. In this abundant ecosystem, you can observe species of amphibians, birds, mammals, and snakes.

Once our excursion is completed, we return to the lodge where we had the opportunity to attend a presentation offered by the Eco Center, followed by a performance.

Day 4. Yucay The Legacy Km 0

Breakfast and Fly to Cusco

After having breakfast, we will return on a boat journey along the Madre de Dios River to Puerto Maldonado, where we can visit the Butterfly House. Peru has the highest variety of butterflies in the world with 3,700 known species.

After a break, we will take our connecting flight to Cusco, where you will be received by one of our representatives who will introduce you to your guide and your private driver.

Yucay: The Legacy

This small town located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas is charming due to its climate, tranquility, Inca constructions, and the traditions of its people. Here, we can visit the Inca terraces, appreciate the local crops, and observe the sunset over the Sacred Valley. When finished, we will head to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Yucay Legacy Cusco

Day 5. Pumamarca Hike

Pumamarca Hike

The archaeological site of Pumamarca in Cusco is a less-visited place, but it's worth exploring. This location features architectural structures like terraces, Inca roads, canals, and more. It is situated 6 km north of Ollantaytambo.

We will embark on a approximately 4-hour hike.

Trekking Route to Pumamarca We begin the day by driving from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and then to the community of Pallata. This is where we'll commence the hike and witness community terraces and houses along the way. This hike is quite challenging, so a good level of physical fitness is required. It will be a 2-hour uphill ascent of about 2 km to reach the ruins of Pumamarca. From there, we'll start a moderate descent over another 4 km, which will take around 2 hours.

We'll finish this hike in the village of Conchapata, where we'll enjoy a picnic-style lunch before taking our private transportation back to your hotel.

Pumamarca Hike Ollantaytambo

Day 6. Kay Machu Picchu 2D/1N

Train from Ollantaytambo to km 104 | Inca Trail

We will take the train to Km 104, where we will embark on a approximately 6-hour hike. We will start by crossing a bridge that spans the banks of the Urubamba River, beginning at the archaeological complex of Cachabamba. Then, we will ascend towards the ruins of Wiñay Wayna. Access to this site is only on foot, and it is the closest archaeological site to Machu Picchu. Our next stop will be the Inti Punku (Sun Gate), where you will get your first incredible view of Machu Picchu, a sight that leaves everyone in awe. From here, we will begin our descent towards Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Citadel

Day 7. Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain / To Cusco    

Second Day in Machu Picchu

This day is when we will visit Machu Picchu. We will take the bus from Aguas Calientes to the Inca citadel, where your guide will provide a complete tour of the places you choose to visit. Feel free to ask any questions you have about the ancient Inca citadel and the new wonder of the modern world. At the end of the tour, we will return to Aguas Calientes by bus.

Huayna Picchu Peru 2024

Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo

We will leave the incredible Inca citadel of Machu Picchu to return to Cusco on a luxury train, where you can enjoy a very pleasant landscape on the way back and, depending on the trend, enjoy a performance by the train staff. The train journey lasts nearly 2 hours, and the drive from Ollantaytambo to Cusco is also 2 hours.

Upon arrival at Ollantaytambo train station, you will be met by a representative of Andean Exclusive and transferred approximately 2 hours to your hotel in Cusco. 

Day 8. Cusco Archeological AM

Surroundings of the City of Cusco

Cusco is one of the most beautiful cities in Peru, steeped in history and culture. It is considered the navel of the world and was the capital of the Inca Empire of Tahuantinsuyo. The Tahuantinsuyo Empire covered an area of 2,500,000 square kilometers across the lands that now belong to Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, and Colombia.

The tour begins with hotel pickup, first visiting the main cathedral of Cusco and the Temple of Qoricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun". You will also have the opportunity to stroll through the streets of Cusco and visit the San Pedro Market, which is the most popular market in the city of Cusco. Finally, we will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an impressive construction located just outside the city of Cusco.

Koricancha cusco city tour

Day 9. Cusco City Walk PM

Cusco on foot | 4 hour tour accompanied by expert guide

Cusco was originally designed by the Incas as a city for walking, as exemplified by the narrow alleyways that can be seen throughout the city.

Your walk will include the major sites of Qoricancha, the most sumptuous "Temple of the Sun" in the Inca Empire, and the impressive Cathedral, a repository of Cusco's colonial art, as well as many other important archaeological relics and artifacts. After visiting these two sites, you can customize this experience according to your own interests by choosing from the following options:

  • The charming and informative Chocolate Museum will take you on a journey through time, providing you with insights into the ancient history of cacao and giving you a current understanding of this incredible plant in all its varieties. You can also learn about the complex biology required to grow and sustain the plant, along with an overview of the production process of fair-trade organic cocoa products produced there.

Chocomuseum Cusco

  • Opened in June 2003, the Pre-Columbian Art Museum is dedicated exclusively to the preservation and presentation of the arts of ancient Peruvian cultures and features a large selection of pieces dating from 1250 B.C. to 1532 A.D. With eleven galleries and modernly equipped texts in Spanish, English, and French, this museum is an exquisite addition to the itinerary of any history enthusiast.
  • Cusco's local market, San Pedro, offers a colorful and flavorful opportunity to experience all the characteristic flavors, colors, and textures of this Andean region. Not far from the Plaza de Armas, the streets begin to narrow, the slope of the path becomes a bit steeper, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee awakens your senses. Shop windows are dominated by fine crafts produced by local artisans, and the beautiful old houses, with walls made of Inca stone, are charming with their colonial facades. You have arrived in the San Blas neighborhood, known as one of the most picturesque districts in the city. Stroll through the streets, venture into one of the many cafes, and be sure to visit the church, which features intricately carved wooden pulpit that will surely leave you breathless.
  • The Concha Mansion, a fully restored colonial mansion owned by the National University of Cusco San Antonio Abad, has become home to an excellent selection of Inca artifacts repatriated and excavated by Hiram Bingham during his exploration of the marvelous Machu Picchu. Hiram, a Yale archaeologist, had transported this extensive collection of artifacts to be studied at the University and later displayed the pieces in Yale's Peabody Museum.

Day 10. South Valley / To Puno

Southeast of Cusco | 6-hour tour accompanied by an expert guide 

On this day, we will pick you up from your hotel to begin your journey to Puno. Along the way, we will be visiting tourist attractions such as the Andahuaylillas Temple and the archaeological site of Racchi, which is an unusual Inca archaeological site with unique features such as its construction in adobe. We will continue on to La Raya, which marks the border between Cusco and Puno and is also the highest point on the route. Here, we can enjoy a box lunch, take photographs, and stretch our legs. During this journey, there are other tourist attractions that you can discuss with your guide if you'd like to visit them. We will arrive in Puno (12.560 ft) and enjoy a view of Lake Titicaca before heading to your hotel for check-in.

Cusco South Valley Raqchi

Arrival to Puno by private vehicle

During your overland transfer to your hotel, you will pass through the city of Juliaca and the port city of Puno. Upon arrival at the Lodge you will be assisted with check-in and then have time to rest and enjoy the scenery. If you arrive with enough time you can enjoy activities on or around the lake. Evening cocktails are served starting at 18:30, followed by dinner from 19:30 to 21:30.

Day 11. Uros Taquile

Visit to Lake Titicaca

On this day, you will travel in a shared car to the famous floating islands of the Uros, located in the Titicaca National Reserve. Here, you can immerse yourself in the proud culture of the Uros people, where men are skilled raftsmen and fishermen, and women are expert textile artisans. The Uro Aymara people refer to themselves as "kot-suña," which means "people of the lake." The islanders will welcome you with cheerful songs, and then invite you to sit together to learn about the process of constructing the islands.

After listening to explanations from the guide and the island residents about their way of life, you will have the opportunity to ride on a totora reed raft on the lake and take some photographs. Later, we will board our motorboat again and return to the city of Puno. Finally, we will head to your hotel to conclude the day.

Titicaca Lake Puno

Day 12. Sillustani / Colca

Activities on Lake Titicaca 

Following your breakfast, indulge in a variety of experiences in and around the lake, tailored to your schedule. On the water, you can explore the nearby Totora reeds through paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. Along the lakeshore, immerse yourself in the natural beauty by cycling through Platería's fields, strolling along rural pathways, observing birds, and marveling at Puno's unique landscapes. Alternatively, consider a visit to Sillustani, renowned for its well-preserved chullpas, ancient funerary towers. Sillustani once served as a burial site for the Pucara, Tiahuanaco, and Ccolla pre-Incan cultures. These ancient tombs symbolize life and birth, having been used to house the remains of tribal leaders and other esteemed figures. Comprising massive stones, some weighing between two to six tons, the construction of the largest tower took approximately 50 years. Sillustani offers an impressive blend of archaeology, history, and breathtaking views of the picturesque landscape.

Exploring the Depths of the Canyon

The Colca Valley and Canyon (3,650m/11,975ft) are undeniably one of Peru's most awe-inspiring and captivating natural wonders. Here, the Colca River, recognized as the potential source of the Amazon according to a National Geographic survey, carves a stunning path through the rugged mountains for over 50 km, all within a hidden oasis of charming Spanish villages. These villages have endured earthquakes, yet their centuries-old churches still proudly stand, and their women continue to adorn themselves in the traditional, vibrant Andean skirts and colorful hats. Dedicate three unforgettable days to immersing yourself in this breathtakingly picturesque setting.

Colca Valley Arequipa

Starting from Arequipa (2,335m/7,660ft) in your private vehicle, you'll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the city's surrounding volcanoes. As you ascend, you'll witness a fascinating transformation in the landscape and vegetation. The journey unfolds from an arid terrain adorned with abundant cacti to the lofty puna highlands, a chilly grassland sprinkled with snow-capped summits, rare patches of short tree woodlands, and the majestic sight of condors soaring overhead.

You'll then venture into the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, one of Peru's two protected regions dedicated to conserving the vicuña, a rare and wild Andean camelid renowned for its soft fur used in fabric production. A brief stop at Patahuasi provides a rejuvenating cup of coca tea, known for its helpful effects in acclimating to higher altitudes. Continuing your journey, you'll pass by the unique Toccra lagoons, where diverse Andean bird species flourish. Your route will lead you to Patapampa (4,914m/16,122ft), the highest point on this overland trail, from where you'll commence a gradual descent into the Colca Valley. Upon reaching the Colca Valley, you'll be transferred to your hotel.

Day 13. Colca / To Arequipa

This morning, you have the option to select from a range of activities, or you can opt for a leisurely morning at your hotel to unwind.

For those planning to hike: Please keep in mind that minor fluctuations in distances and altitudes may occur as the chosen route may vary slightly. Additionally, the time required for trekking can vary from one hiker to another, and any timeframes provided in the description below are approximate averages.

Uyo Uyo Ruins | Accompanied by expert guide 

The classic 2-hour route starts in Yanque, passes Sifon Bridge with ancient food storage units, ventures through farmlands and terraced terrain, includes a 15-minute uphill climb to Uyo Uyo, and allows time for exploration. You can also do this route in reverse.

To extend the hike to about 2 hours and 20 minutes, walk from Uyo Uyo to the historic Cervantes Bridge. Your vehicle will pick you up there. This extension can be done in reverse.

For a shorter walk, visit Uyo Uyo only. Your vehicle can drop you 600 meters from the ruins, and the 15-minute ascent to Uyo Uyo takes about 45 minutes for the round trip.

Canocota Canyon Hike | 5-hour excursion accompanied by expert guide

Take a 5-hour guided excursion to the Canocota Canyon. This 3-hour trek starts in Canocota, with a moderate uphill climb to a lookout point, followed by easy terrain. Along the way, you'll see Incan thermal baths, ancient terraces, and a river. The hike ends at La Calera thermal baths, where your private vehicle awaits. Depending on your departure time, you may need to bring a packed lunch (arranged with your hotel).

Chimpa Fortress Hike  | 6-hour excursion accompanied by expert guide

Embark on a challenging 4-hour hike to the Madrigal Chimpa Fortress. As you ascend, you'll encounter the ancient terraces that adorn the Colca Valley and catch sight of the active Sabancaya Volcano. Approximately halfway up, consider a brief detour to a looted tomb site. Continue the climb to a beautifully wind-carved lookout. After about 2 hours of total climbing, you'll reach the Madrigal Chimpa Fortress. Explore the archaeological site, savor the 360-degree views, and watch for condors. The descent takes about 1-2 hours, and depending on your departure time, bring a packed lunch (arranged with your hotel).

Condor Colca canyon Arequipa

After your morning adventures, your private vehicle will return you to your hotel for an early lunch (at your own cost) before setting off for afternoon condor spotting.

The Condors of Colca | 4-hour excursion accompanied by expert guide

In the afternoon, visit the colonial church of Lari and head to Condor Cross to watch these majestic birds in flight. The Andean condor, known for its 10-foot wingspan, is one of the largest flying birds. Although their appearance can't be guaranteed, you have an excellent chance of spotting them from this viewpoint. After the excursion, return to your hotel for dinner (at your own cost) and a relaxing evening.

Day 14. Arequipa city / To Paracas

The White City | 4.5-hour tour accompanied by expert guide

This afternoon, at 13:30, your knowledgeable guide will pick you up from your hotel to explore the city's key attractions. Your tour begins with a visit to the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral. From there, you'll wander through the adjacent streets, taking in the colonial architecture and charming plazas. Make sure to stop at the Jesuit Church of La Compañia, noted for its intricate facade, local designs, and polychrome chapel dome. The colorful Santa Catalina Monastery, a must-see in Arequipa, is also on your itinerary. Please note that a monastery's official guide will accompany you through Santa Catalina. Your guide will wait for you outside and reconvene with you after your visit.

Mainsquare Arequipa city tour

Next, you'll head to the Santa Teresa Convent to explore its art collection. Afterward, a visit to the Santuarios Andinos Museum follows, where you can see the well-preserved body of Juanita, an Incan sacrifice, on display. Around 17:00, you'll be driven back to your hotel.

Day 15. Paracas

Ballestas Islands | 2.5-hour tour with shared boat and local guide

This morning, you'll head to the Paracas pier, where you'll join a boat tour to explore the Ballestas Islands, a fascinating archipelago rich in wildlife. These islands feature unique natural formations and are home to various sea birds and sea lions. Your journey will also take you to Punta Pejerrey, offering the best viewpoint to see the Candelabro, a candelabra-like geoglyph etched into a cliffside overlooking the bay.

The group tour lasts around 2.5 hours, with about 45 minutes spent observing the wildlife. Please note that this is a shared tour with a shared boat and guide. If preferred, you can arrange a premium boat or private yacht tour at an additional cost.

Ballestas Islands Ica

Paracas National Reserve | 1-1.5-hour tour accompanied by expert guide

Following your tour of the Ballestas Islands, your guide will be waiting to take you to the Paracas National Reserve, which is Peru's sole marine protected area, covering a vast 335,000 hectares. This reserve was established to safeguard substantial breeding populations of Humboldt penguins, South American fur seals, and sea lions, along with providing a crucial stopover for 63 migratory bird species. During your excursion, you'll have the opportunity to witness the native flora and fauna, as well as geological formations along the coastal beaches and desert landscape. After your guided visit, you'll be transferred via private car to Paracas, where you can enjoy lunch at your hotel or at one of the local restaurants..

Sunset in the Desert | 4-hour experience

Paracas is renowned as one of the driest deserts globally, with rare rainfall, and its dunes create a breathtaking spectacle during sunrise and sunset. This region is rich in history and culture, offering stunning landscapes. In the late afternoon, experience the thrill of traversing the Paracas dunes in SUVs driven by seasoned experts. Enjoy the ride as the sun sets and conclude the adventure with a traditional spread of small shared plates (piqueos) and drinks under the starry skies at a selected location.

Day 16. Overflight Ica

The Nazca Lines | Half-day tour accompanied by expert guide 

Today, you'll embark on an intriguing journey to explore the famous Nazca Lines, mysterious and colossal desert carvings that continue to captivate all who behold them. In the morning, your guide will pick you up from your Paracas hotel, and you'll be privately transferred to the Pisco airport, a 20-minute drive away. Here, you'll prepare for your overflight, which covers not only the Nazca Lines but also the Palpa Lines – enormous depictions of animals and geometric shapes, some spanning up to 300 meters, etched onto a vast 220 km² desert canvas.

Nazca Lines Ica Peru

Before boarding your small plane, a Cessna Grand Caravan 208B Series with a capacity for 12 passengers, spend some time exploring the exhibition rooms at Pisco airport to delve into the rich history and culture of the Ica region. The flight itself lasts approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, with 20 minutes dedicated to circling over the Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines. Following the overflight, your guide will be ready to accompany you by private car back to Paracas, where you can savor lunch at your hotel or one of the local restaurants.

Please note that guiding during the flight over the Nazca Lines is not included but can be arranged upon request for an additional cost. Lunch is not included.

The afternoon is at your leisure, providing an opportunity to explore the area independently or simply unwind at your hotel. If you're interested in additional activities in the Paracas region, feel free to inquire about the options available with your travel planner.

Day 17. To Lima / City + Larco PM

Into the Past

Explore Lima's rich historical and cultural heritage, where ancient history predates the Spanish colonial era. Your journey begins with a visit to Huaca Huallamarca, an ancient adobe pyramid dating back to 200 BC, which served various purposes, including religious and burial.

Next, you'll discover the Larco Museum, where a knowledgeable guide simplifies thousands of years of pre-Columbian history through innovative storytelling. The museum showcases an array of pre-Columbian ceramics adorned with animals, deities, and figures, offering a vivid glimpse into this ancient world. As you progress through the exhibits, you'll notice the influence of the Spanish conquest on the indigenous art and culture.

Larco Museum Lima PEru

Your exploration continues in Lima's colonial area, featuring prominent sites like the Cathedral, Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Main Square with its neo-colonial buildings. You'll also have the opportunity to visit Casa Aliaga, the continent's oldest family-owned home, which dates back 17 generations. This well-preserved house reflects the Viceroyalty period, displaying various salons showcasing decor from the 16th to 18th centuries. Explore the courtyard and chapel, which were once adorned with silver sheets before the events of 1826. After this captivating journey, you'll be transferred back to your Lima hotel.

Please note that the order of visits can be adjusted based on your interests within the specified 8-hour duration. Alternate sites, such as the Convent of San Francisco and its catacombs, Huaca Pucllana, and the Museo de la Inquisition, can be included. Additionally, you can arrange for cocktails at Casa Aliaga upon request, at an extra cost.

Day 18. Out 

Assistance between Domestic and International Flights

A representative will be expecting you from your domestic flight with a sign bearing your name. He will assist you with all check-in procedures and escort you to the departure area to catch the international flight.      


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