DAY 1: Arrival in Lima
Welcome to Peru!
Once you touch down in Lima, your Kuoda host will escort you to your comfortable and stylish hotel in the oceanfront Miraflores district. Most international flights arrive late in the evening, so we’ll bring you straight to your hotel so you’ll be rested and refreshed for the next day.
DAY 2: Lima to Arequipa
Flight to Arequipa / Private Tour of the White City
Your Lima host will escort you to the airport in the morning and you’ll fly direct to Arequipa. Often called “the White City,” Arequipa is famous for its bleached bright colonial-era buildings, which are made from a pearly volcanic rock known as sillar. With the assistance of a Kuoda host, you’ll travel to your hotel of choice to settle in.
That afternoon, set off on a private city tour of Arequipa’s most intriguing sights, from the handsome colonial architecture to the Juanita mummy – the preserved body of a young Inca girl who was sacrificed to the gods. The guided city tour concludes in the main square, Yanahuara, which boasts stunning panoramas of the city and the volcanic peak of El Misti.
DAY 3: Arequipa and Colca Canyon
Travel Between Arequipa and Colca Canyon / Calera Hot Springs
Set off with your guide to the small town of Chivay. En route, you’ll stop at Pampa Cañahuas – a reserve inhabited by llamas and other South American camelids – and the volcano overlook of Patapampa, from where you can gaze over the mighty line-up of snow-hatted volcanic peaks.
After checking into your personally chosen hotel, it’s time to bliss out as you sink into the curative waters of Calera’s hot springs.
DAY 4: Colca Canyon to Puno
Private Tour of the Colca Valley / Cross of the Condor / Departure for Puno
Following breakfast at the luxury hotel, head for Condor’s Cross to peer down into the seemingly endless depths of Colca Canyon, which is almost three times as tall as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper. While here, be on watch for the majestic Andean condor, which is frequently spotted soaring above the canyon’s abyss. Next, we’ll visit some of the settlements in and around Colca Valley to learn about local customs.
In the afternoon, enjoy views of the picturesque countryside during the five-hour journey to Puno. Because you’ll be in a private car, you can sit back, stretch out and relax. In Puno, your Kuoda host will check you into your lovely hotel for the evening.
DAY 5: Puno and Lake Titicaca
Cultural Tour / Uros Island / the Island of Taquile
Today, you’ll enjoy a guided private tour – which can be customized to suit those on family tours to Peru – around Lake Titicaca. Travel by boat to the floating islands of Uros, home to an ancient community whose ancestral lineage stretched back to pre-Inca times. Thanks to their self-made reed islands, which require continual renovation, the Uros people have managed to preserve their unique way of life and survive not just the Incas and the Spanish, but also the threat of encroaching modernity.
Next, sail out to Taquile Island, whose residents are honored by UNESCO for their weaving skills. Eat a lunch prepared by the hospitable islanders, before returning to Puno for transfer to your hotel of choice.
DAY 6: Over the Altiplano to Cusco
A Sightseeing Tour by Bus from Puno to Cusco
After breakfast, settle in for a seat on a guided bus tour that will take you from Puno to Cusco, stopping at several key points of interest along the scenic route. The first stop-off comes at the Pre-Inca Pukara archaeological site. Next up: La Raya, which at around 14,220 feet, will be the literal high point of your travels. Vistas of glorious glacier-capped peaks loom in the background. In the foreground, artisans hawk their goods on the roadside stalls.
After an enjoyable lunch en route, we’ll break to stretch our legs once more at Raqchi. The Inca ruins here are quite unlike any others. Rather than just temples or ceremonial centers, this town – once the Inca frontier – possesses unusual stone-and-mud-brick walls, designed to ward off invaders from the south.
The penultimate destination on your guided bus tour will be the church of Andahuaylillas. Whitewashed on the outside, this church’s seemingly humble exterior belies the extravagance that lies inside. The interior’s lavish frescoes, dazzling gold leaf and eye-popping wood sculpture has earned it the handle, “Sistine Chapel of the Americas.”
As you step off the bus in Cusco, you’ll be met by a Kuoda host who will take you to your stylish hotel, where you can rest and put your feet up.
DAY 7: Cusco
Private Walking Tour of Cusco
Today you’ll familiarize yourself with the delights of travelers’ favorite, Cusco, during a private city tour. Listen as your guide recounts its fascinating history explaining how it went from the Incas’ resplendent “navel of the world” to a forgotten colonial backwater to a thriving city, much-loved by tourists and locals alike. See vestiges of the Inca inhabitants, indigenous art and elegant colonial buildings and well as the artsy San Blas district and the perma-thronged San Pedro market.
Once you’re acquainted with the city, feel free to spend the afternoon exploring at your leisure.
DAY 8: Exploring the Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo and Pisac’s Archaeological Complexes and Pisac Market
Today, your customized tour of Peru will take you into the Sacred Valley to the time-warp town of Ollantaytambo, where original Inca town planning – including the street canals – remains in place. Climb up past the fertile agricultural terraces, where locals tend to crops such as corn, potato and quinoa. Soon, you’ll reach the remains of the Inca Temple of the Sun, whose elevated position provides stellar valley views. A guide will show you around the rest of the ruins pointing out the storehouses where the Incas would have kept their crops as well as the quarries form where the giant stones were procured for the construction of this very complex.
Return to the valley to the small town of Pisac where you will visit the village and its vibrant artisan market. Here, stalls are stacked with all kinds of interesting items, from curious vegetables and plant-based dyes to artful textiles and ceramics. After shopping in the market, make your way up to the ruins, which sit on a ridge overlooking the town. Admire the stonework and gaze over the terraces where the Incas themselves developed many of the thousands of potato species which Peru now famously produces.
DAY 9: Visiting the Agricultural Lab of the Incas and Our Friends in a Local Community
Private Tours of Moray and Maras and Off-the-Beaten Track Stop at a Local Community
After breakfast at your hotel of choice, we’ll head to Moray to see the famous circular terraces, which are thought to have been used as an agricultural testing station by the Incas. From there, continue on to the small town of Maras to see the community-owned salt pans, which cover the hillside. Different sections are owned by different families who still harvest the pools using the same ancient methods established by the Incas. Next, we’ll break for lunch at the Casa de Barro, where you can sample regional cuisine.
After lunch, we’ll introduce you to some of our friends in an isolated highland village set on the shore of Lake Piuray. Agriculture is central to the community here, and many of the women are extremely accomplished weavers too. Speak to the residents, learn about how they live and chat to the children who attend Kuoda’s after-school program (Monday to Friday).
Return to your stylish hotel for the evening.
DAY 10: Machu Picchu
Private Tour of Machu Picchu
Today, you’ll set off to Machu Picchu. Ride an early morning train up to Aguas Calientes, then enjoy a private guided tour of these incomparable Inca ruins. Find out about the history and significance of this mist-shrouded city and take in the wondrous panorama, which encompasses jungle peaks, cloud forest and the ancient stone mountainside structures. Once you’ve had an overview of the site, we’ll break for lunch at the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge. You’ll then have the rest of the day for solo exploration or alternatively, you can continue touring the site with your guide.
DAY 11: Machu Picchu
Free Morning at Machu Picchu / Return to Cusco
After breakfast, you’ll have a free morning to enjoy Machu Picchu at your leisure. Perhaps find a quiet spot with views of the long-abandoned settlement to sit and bask in what many believe to be the mystical energy of the site. Alternatively, you may wish to climb to the top of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers bird’s-eye views of the centuries-old citadel. Be aware that if you do wish to climb Huayna Picchu, you will have to decide in advance as restriction is limited to 400 people per day and tickets must be purchased along with your Machu Picchu entrance.
That afternoon, you’ll board the Vistadome train and ride back to Cusco, where your host will meet you and bring you to your hotel of choice in the city.
DAY 12: Cusco to Lima and Home
Today is going home day, but you’ll still manage to squeeze in a little more exploring. After traveling from Cusco to Lima by air, your host will take you to Miraflores, Lima’s attractive commercial borough, where you can shop and explore the leafy oceanfront parks. A car will be available should you wish to see more of Peru’s capital.
Later, you will be transferred to Jorge Chavez Airport for your international flight home.
If this itinerary has stirred your travel lust, call or email Kuoda and we’ll start crafting your own Peru private travel experience.