All our itineraries are RESPONSible; but this one ticks all the boxes. It’s a long trip, slowly visiting pretty much all the destinations of Southern Peru in our style: original, authentic, educative and fun. It boasts a lot of community-based tourism (farmer visits in desert and mountain, homestays and hikes), archaeology, living culture and of course nature. If you’re looking for a trip that makes it worth flying all the way to Peru, look no further. This itinerary is for travellers that have seen a lot of the world, enjoy real, authentic encounters with local population and prefer not to rush through a destination.
Feel free to send us an enquiry to tailor-make this trip for you and your party.
For the first time, RESPONS will open a few of its itineraries to small groups! We’ll have a few dates per year that this itinerary can be booked at a fixed price. Use the booking form on the right to find the dates and take advantage of this unique opportunity!
We will accept reservations and operate this trip on any of these dates from only 2 persons onwards! If you’re only two, you’ll travel with an amazing discount!
After arriving to Lima you’ll visit the capital with our guide; the best introduction to our country. After that, you’ll travel to Nazca to discover its gems. If you take this trip as a custom itinerary, you could replace Nazca with, or add, the area around Paracas on the way. Get inspired with our excursions around Paracas and Nazca here.
We always say there’s so much more to the Nazca area than just the famous Nazca lines. These cilivizations have left so much more: impressive temples, mysterious burial sites and the famous underground water channels, for example. In a day and a half, we’ll take you to Nazca’s hidden gems on foot, by bike and with a sand buggy.
In Arequipa, we’ll give you two free days to acclimatize (very important) or to add any of our RESPONSible tours in Arequipa. A walking tour of the city with our local guide is already included!
After Arequipa, you’ll visit the Colca Canyon‘s highlights and stay two nights with our dear host families of Coporaque. For many travelers, the thermal baths of Coporaque and the horse ride with “Chocolate” were highlights of their visit; apart from the warmth and hospitality of the locals, of course.
After Coporaque you’ll travel towards Lake Titicaca. You’ll visit the unknown Titino reed islands, go fishing with a local fisherman around an uninhabited island and stay with a hostfamily at the border of the lake on the Capachica Peninsula.
With a bus you travel from Titicaca to Cusco; a city worthy to visit with our own Walking Tour before continuing into the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s. Both private tours are slightly different from standard tours to show you that little extra and make better use of transportation and your time.
From the Sacred Valley, you’ll travel onwards towards our popular organic coffee farmers. You’ll learn everything about their products and lifestyle before making your way, partially by hiking ancient Inca paths, to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
Back in Cusco you’ll have another day to rest and take part in a fun cooking class by a local chef.
Finally, to complete this Peru voyage through the desert and the Andes, you’ll get a chance to know the jungle. From the comfort of a jungle lodge (three nights in the same accommodation), you’ll make jungle excursions learning all about the forest and its inhabitants. You can be sure to spot many wild animals in their natural habitat!
That was “The Local Way” in short. You can read the detailed Day-to-Day description further below or contact us directly for the full itinerary in PDF with much more information.
As every long itinerary (6 days+), you can book this tour as it is, or adapt it with one of our travel designers until it is completely to your wishes. If that is what you want, please read through this itinerary carefully and then get in touch with our team telling us what you’d like to change to this example itinerary.
For the group departures, we initially won’t change the itinerary, aside from some minor changes. Feel free to chat with us about the (im)possibilities! For this, you can use the Enquiry form on the right hand side.
So, if you book this trip on one of our Group Departure dates, there are two decisions you should make:
Once you enquire this tour, we will send you a full PDF itinerary with much more information: more complete descriptions, hotel information, recommendations, options (only in case of FIT trips, not for Group Departures), and prices for the domestic flights.
Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival at Lima airport, our driver will pick you up and bring you to the hotel.
In the morning you will be picked up by your guide for a walking tour through the city. You will use Lima’s public transportation to get an idea of a local’s daily life.
First you will go to the Surquillo market, where you will see the enormous diversity of unique Peruvian fruits such as the chirimoya, lúcuma, aguaymanto and pacay.
Then, you will take the “Metropolitano” bus to the historic center of Lima, visit the street Jirón de la Unión, the Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas and the famous San Francisco church with its catacombs. Of course, the guide can adapt the tour according to circumstances or your preferences: please coordinate with the guide which places you would like to visit.
Today you take an early morning bus from Lima to Nazca.
After your arrival and lunch (not included), it’s time for an original bike ride! To experience the area better but also to make a statement (that it can also be done differently and more sustainably). You’ll explore some archaeological highlights in the Nazca area by bicycle. If it is sunny, please pack plenty of water, cover your head and apply your sunscreen well.
You start at the Inca site Paredones: an interesting construction with local materials but Inca architecture. Sort of a preview for your later visit to Cusco 😉
Then you will visit two geoglyphs: the drawings that the Nazcas made in the desert.
Next up are the Cantayoc Aqueducts: actually spiral holes in the ground that lead to their underground channels. The artery of the healthy society of the Nascas. The spiral entrances have been used for 2000 years to bring up water for consumption and irrigation. And they look beautiful!
You end with a visit to a center where the cerámica (ceramics) of Nazca are still being recreated and you learn about traditional techniques and designs. A nice end to this varied cycling tour!
Overnight stay at a hotel in Nazca.
Optionally, you can go to the planetarium in Nazca this evening. Here you will learn about the link between the constellations and the Nazca lines, and also view stars both with the naked eye and through a telescope. A great way to dive deeper into Peru’s history and the astronomic knowledge of the pre-Inca civilizations.
In the morning you will make an original hike starting from a small village in a fertile valley with fruit trees, agriculture and birds. Then you will pass sand dunes full of Nazca ceramics and cross a desert plain to reach the Chauchilla cemetery, where several mummies from the Nazca era can be observed in their grave. A unique experience, to get a completely different view of the old and modern coastal cultures.
In the afternoon you will participate in a unique sand buggy tour to the impressive pyramids of Cahuachi and the ancient irrigation canals of Ocongalla. Sandboarding on the dunes in the Usaca desert is also included. This adventure will last about 4 hours!
After dinner you will be driven to the bus station to take a comfortable night bus to Arequipa. The journey takes almost ten hours, the seats are wide and incline 160 degrees.
Enjoy two days in this beautiful city, also called the “White City”. Do not miss the colorful Santa Catalina monastery and/or the interesting museum with the ice mummy Juanita.
To get a good first impression of the city, you will enjoy a walking tour in the afternoon. This city walk along the highlights of Arequipa will be held by our lovely local guide Caroline. The tour includes a visit to churches, the Plaza de Armas and the cathedral. She will leave you at the Santa Catalina monastery at the end of the tour, as she is not allowed to guide there (they have their own guides for a cost of around 20 soles). Duration: approx. 2,5-3 hours.
If you desire to add an optional excursion in Arequipa, get inspired here!
This second day in Arequipa is important for your acclimatization, before going to the Colca Canyon passing over an altitude of almost 5,000 meters! Fortunately, the city has enough to offer.
From Arequipa you will travel to the Colca Canyon with a shared van (max. 15 passengers). The English-speaking guide on board will give you a lot of interesting facts along the way and there are some planned stops at beautiful spots. You will go through a reserve where many vicuñas live in freedom. The snow-covered volcanoes on the background complete this impressive landscape.
In Chivay, the capital of the Colca Canyon, you will be picked up by members of the Coporaque community for a lunch with your host family. With a local guide (Spanish speaking), you will explore the village and visit the viewpoint, where you can see the route for the next day at your feet!
Dinner and overnight stay at a local family in private rooms.
At dawn you will join the shared excursion again, to the famous Cruz del Condor. During the ride from Chivay you will make a few stops at interesting spots, but the highlight of the day will most definitely be the flight of the condor! If you are lucky you will see multiple condors flying close to the viewpoint where you will be situated, making use of the thermal winds rising up from the Canyon.
Back in Coporaque you will have a free afternoon. You could make a hike to the thermal baths of Coporaque (approx. 10 sol entrance fee) or go horse riding! (120 soles pp) In Coporaque they have comfortable (and obedient) Peruvian Paso horses.
Today another morning with free time in Coporaque, but then it is time to say goodbye to your hostfamily (and probably new friends) and take another shared bus, to Puno. Along the way, some photo stops are made to enjoy the wide landscape, characterized by volcanoes and vicuñas.
Upon arrival in Puno, you will be transferred to your hotel. Free evening.
In the morning, you’ll travel to the San Pedro port of Llachon, to take the boat to the floating Uros Titino islands (approximately 30 minutes).
You will be welcomed by a family that lives on the island to get an explanation of their daily life and how they make their island. It is also possible to take a ride on a traditional reed boat. Walking on the island feels a bit like a waterbed, but it’s safe, of course!
Then you will return to shore to enjoy a typical local lunch after which you will be driven to a family guesthouse in Chifrón (about 20 minutes); beautifully located with views over Chifrón’s sandy beach and Lake Titicaca. In the background you can even see the Cordillera Real of Bolivia.
The rooms are simple, but equipped with the necessary amenities and clean (there is even hot water). You will meet your hosts, and also will have time to walk around the house. Dinner with the host family and overnight.
After breakfast, your guide and a fisherman will take you on a sailboat to the small island of Tikonata. Along the way, you will learn how local people fish on Lake Titicaca. On Tikonata you will meet the people who take care of it (it is basically uninhabited) and you will visit the small museum with mummies that were found on this small island.
After walking to a beautiful viewpoint, you will return to your host family for lunch and have free time in the afternoon. You can walk to the beach, relax in the sun or read a book.
In the morning you will be driven to Juliaca to take the bus to Cusco. Along the way, several attractions will be visited, like the Pucará museum, the La Raya pass (4.335 meters) and the temple of Wiracocha, in the village of Raqchi. An impressive structure, where the Day of the Sun is celebrated annually on June 16th. The current population still uses the aqueducts and irrigation channels that the Incas left there.
In the village Andahuaylillas, the last stop, it seems as though time has stopped. Its church was built in 1580 and is also called the Sistine Chapel of South America due to its wall paintings.
In Cusco (arrival around 5pm), we will take you to your hotel for a free evening. The Niños Hotel (2 stars) is our favorite: a very attractive hotel that supports projects with (street) children.
In the morning, you will join our own Walking Tour! A beautiful introduction of the city and a nice relaxed walk (downhill only). You’ll be driven up to Qenqo, from where you will walk to Sacsayhuamán: impressive ruins with a great view of the city. From here you continue down into the San Blas neighbourhood, where we will visit the lovely Xapiri art museum & café (coffee and snack inclusive). At the end you will visit the famous Sun Temple.
After lunch (not included) you can visit the Cathedral of Cusco (entrance fee: 25 soles p.p.), a museum (Museo Inka is fun!) or do some shopping to get a nice souvenir or a beautiful alpaca sweater. We also have many other day tours and workshops at offer in Cusco to learn more about local art and/or the work of NGO’s. Contact us if you don’t find what you like (yet); we know much more than what’s on the platform now.
This morning you will visit a farm with all the camelids of the Andes: all kinds of alpacas and llamas that you can feed and take pictures with. The wild vicuñas and guanacos are a bit further away (they have more space and do not like people around them).
Then you will continue and visit the highlights of the Sacred Valley. First the Pisac market, where you can get all kind of souvenirs like pottery, hats, alpaca textiles, musical instruments, paintings, antiques and jewelry. Or you can choose to ascend to the archaeological site of Pisac, where you will observe terraces, aqueducts, water channels and enjoy beautiful views. (We’ll take you up by transportation, you walk down with your guide and join those that stayed in the market to continue.)
Somewhere along the way, you will find a place to have lunch (with help from your guide).
And then you will visit the beautiful Inca village of Ollantaytambo and its ruins, where you’ll also stay overnight.
We have chosen Apu Lodge for you here: a nice hotel with a view in three directions! The big ruins on one side, the small ruins on the other side and the roofs of Ollantaytambo in front of you. The accommodation is surrounded by a beautiful garden, it is very quiet, at the end of the historic center. You have to walk a few minutes on cobblestone streets to reach the hotel, since cars can’t come here! Fortunately, there is a small restaurant where you can go in the evening if you don’t want to leave the hotel.
Today you will travel from Ollantaytambo, over the Abra Malaga Pass at 4.300 m altitude, to Julia’s house, located at 1.500m. Along the way you will experience the different ecosystems and climates: from the high plains and glaciers to the lush upper jungle and banana trees!
Upon arrival to Julia’s house you will have some time to freshen up: all the rooms have their own bathroom with hot shower. Time for a fresh lunch: possibly a trout recipe that makes Julia almost famous!
In the afternoon you will go with Julia or one of her family members on a walk through her plantations, to learn about all kinds of coffee, fruit and cocoa they grow here. You will also be able to taste different fruits and make a superfresh juice! Making your own chocolate is also possible: ask Julia if she has some cocoa (depends on the season).
Dinner and overnight stay at Julia’s guestrooms with mosquito nets on every bed.
After a delicious breakfast it is time to say goodbye to this nice family. Together with your guide you’ll drive to the trailhead which leads to Alejandro’s house. You can choose the most beautiful hike (2 to 2,5 hours with some steep parts) or a shorter hike of about 1 hour and 15 minutes (if you’re afraid of heights) to Alejandro’s house. Upon arrival, a delicious lunch will be served!
In the afternoon you will go through the whole coffee making process from one of Peru’s best specialists: from harvesting the beans to your own cup of coffee.
Overnight stay at Alejandro’s nice accommodation. Some rooms share a bathroom with hot shower; most rooms have this ensuite.
After breakfast it is time to start the hike of today; around four hours in total. Mostly downhill and flat. If the river level allows it, you will walk on the beautiful and adventurous path by the river side. On the way, you will also have to cross the river in a kind of cable-car cart: not for people with vertigo.
Upon arrival to the hot springs of Cocalmayo (10 minutes before Santa Teresa), you can enjoy the three swimming pools or, if you’re lucky, relax in the sun.
Lunch is in Santa Teresa or at the train station (not included).
Finally, you will take public transportation to the train station called “Hidroeléctrica”. From there you will continue to Aguas Calientes (on foot approx. 2,5 to 3 hours; train is optional. In 2022, train tickets have to be bought beforehand from Cusco. In 2023 we hope the ticket office will reopen in Hidroelectrica.)
Early in the morning you’ll take the bus to Machu Picchu, often referred as “The Lost City of the Incas”. It must be one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world. It is located at 2,430 meters altitude, high above the Urubamba river. The Incas started building it around 1430 AD as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti, strategically located between deep canyons and impressive mountains called Apus (gods for the Incas), so it was a well hidden and well protected fortress.
Our tip for active people is to climb the Machu Picchu mountain before the tour: not the over-visited Huayna Picchu. The Machu Picchu mountain is a little higher (climbing one and a half hours) but offers a nice panoramic view of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu mountain and the underlying Urubamba river. In addition, the path and the nature on the way are beautiful, and because of its limited number of visitors, it feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of Machu Picchu.
Afterwards you will have a private tour in Machu Picchu of approx. 1-1,5 hours. Then, you take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and the train back to the Sacred Valley where a private driver will bring you back to your hotel in Cusco.
In the morning you will be picked up by our great friend and excellent cook Seledonia (she doesn’t speak English!) to go to the local (not tourist) market, where she always does her shopping. You will walk through the market with Selia, learning about the variety of ingredients and how to recognize the quality, until all ingredients are bought. Then you will go to her restaurant to cook: typical Peruvian dishes but also her own “signature dishes”. And you will of course enjoy lunch at the restaurant. ¡Delicioso!
You will have a free afternoon to relax, or stay a little longer with Selia and her family (she has three children).
You can also take a walk through the city, visit a museum or do some souvenirs shopping. Also interesting: at 4:30pm the Niños Hotel does a free short tour to present its projects.
From here, you’ll have three options:
So, for OPTION 1 and 3 the programme for today is:
Free evening and overnight stay.
For OPTION 2, the programme of today continues as follows:
In the evening, you will be driven to the bus station to take a comfortable night bus to Puerto Maldonado. It is a long but spectacular bus ride, which first goes through a high pass of almost 4.800m (next to the highest mountains of the region, of more than 6.000 meters above sea level!) and then make a long descent into the jungle. The journey takes about 11 hours and the seats can incline up to 160 degrees.
Option 1: no jungle extension
Today you’ll fly back from Cusco to Lima, connecting to your flight back home. We’ll include the airport transfer in Cusco today; nothing else. The time of transfer will be coordinated with you and depend on your flights today.
Option 2: standard jungle extension
You’ll be picked up from the bus station this morning and start your four-day jungle extension with Bello Horizonte lodge (or similar). For more descriptions, see here (we’ll soon add this programme to our own platform!).
Option 3: superior jungle extension
This morning you’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the Cusco airport, for a short flight to Puerto Maldonado. (If no direct flight is available on this day, you’ll fly via Lima.)
Once arrived in Puerto Maldonado, you’ll be picked up by the Rainforest Expeditions team, taken to their office to leave all unnecessary luggage there, and then start your 4-day jungle programme!! We’ve included a Comfort Room in either Posada Amazonas or Refugio Amazonas for you; subject to availability of course. You can read more about the possible activities in Posada Amazonas here (we’ll soon add Refugio to our platform as well)
Second day of your jungle programme.
Third day of your jungle programme.
For a last time, you will wake up with the sounds of the jungle. Unfortunately, after breakfast it is time to return to Puerto Maldonado to take the afternoon flight back to Lima. There, if you have an evening flight, you can check in for the flight back home.
If you have some time to spend in Puerto Maldonado, you can find our restaurant tips below.
(If you have to stay another night in Lima, we can arrange for an extra overnight stay there, of course.)
Depending on your international flights, today you will arrive home after a varied and wonderful trip through Peru. Thank you for traveling RESPONSibly!
Since this trip takes you through pretty much every beautiful part of Southern Peru already, if there would be any time left (the longer a trip the better, right?) we’d definitely recommend to add one or more destinations from northern Peru after this trip.
If you love hiking and spectacular high mountain landscapes, definitely consider adding at least five days to visit the area around Huaraz: authentic mountain communities and trekkings of all sorts are awaiting you!
Northern Peru holds more treasures though, like the archaeologic sites around Trujillo and Chiclayo and the absolutely stunning Chachapoyas region that just seems to have it all. We have several itineraries of one to three weeks that visit the best places in the north, and can customize these for trekking lovers, nature lovers, archaeology lovers or any other kind of lovers 😉
Of course other destinations are also possible, let us know what you like. The Galapagos Islands or Bolivia? Central Peru? A yoga retreat? A beach destination? We’d love to help you finish your Peru trip in the best fitting way whilst always keeping sustainability in mind.
Please note that the mentioned prices above are for the group departures. If you choose to leave on another date and customize this trip, the price per person will inevitably be higher, especially for small groups.
Since on this page we focus on the group departure of this itinerary, you can’t make too big changes. Of course where there’s free time excursions can be added and on some destinations you can also skip an excursion with the group and undertake something on your own. Please coordinate with us well before.
On any other date, you can take this trip as a start and make a whole different itinerary for you and your fellow travelers only. That’s what this is all about: inspire you and support you to get the most out of your visit to Peru! You can count on our team of specialists to develop the perfect itinerary to Peru for you.
Everyone directly involved in your visit, like the hostfamily, the local guides or families you visit during excursions, are usually fine with pictures. If you make a really nice (family) portrait and you promise to send it to them, make sure to fulfill that promise!
As to anyone not directly involved, like other community members you meet on a hike, it would be kind to ask them first if it’s OK to take a picture. If the picture is great and/or they’re a little uncomfortable, it’s OK to give a little tip if they are doing you the favour of posing or allowing you to take your photo. Something between 1 to 5 soles is fine. Don’t exaggerate.
Showing the resultant picture is always nice if you have the time!
If you want to see the price for your situation, please select an amount of travelers (number of adults, children, etc) on the right side of the website (or the bottom on the mobile version). You will then see that total price for your party right above it. The mentioned price is only valid on group departure dates.
If you’re not sharing this trip in one of our group departures, it is advised to book this tour through our Custom Itineraries department, instead of direct booking here on the website, so that we can adapt the itinerary to your liking before you book. You can enquire by filling out this form. If you’re 1 to 4 people, the price will likely be higher than the one mentioned here.
Please refer to our article What to Pack for your Trip to Peru for all your questions about packing for your Peru trip. Whether you’re going to the jungle or the mountains, you’ll find the answers you need. You can also download a full Packing List for free.
This trip includes a few hikes and bike tours that require medium fitness and some experience with activities in different climates. Due to the altitudes, it’s advised to come in good shape and have a strong heart and lungs. In case of doubts, read our article on How to Stay Healthy in Peru or contact us.
Once you leave Arequipa, you’ll immediately go up and reach almost five thousand meters (16,400 ft) above sea level; you will definitely feel it! The following nights (Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca) will be over 3.500 meters (11,500 ft) altitude, which is why we always recommend to acclimatize well in Arequipa. For example by staying there for two full days, like in this itinerary.
The rest of the route will lead you over passes above four thousand meters a few more times, but accommodations will be lower the second half of the itinerary.
All the visited host families have comfortable and nicely decorated homestay accommodations for you. The rooms are usually separate from the main house. You’ll have your meals in the family’s kitchen.
There are rooms with twin beds, double beds and multiple beds. Usually, there is enough space for double occupation.
Almost every room has its own private bathroom ensuite; sometimes the bathroom is outside and shared. Almost all have hot water. Thick bedding and a hot water bottle (or mosquito nets) are provided where necessary.
No, they don’t. So far however, most of our travelers do not opt for an optional translator, since apart from the additional cost it might change the experience. Our host families are very used to having guests that don’t speak Spanish and their Spanish is easy to understand for those who speak other Latin languages.
Of course, learning Spanish beforehand is always a good idea! Use an app like Duolingo to learn the basics before leaving and enhance your experience whilst traveling.
Anything really! May and September (the months we’d have the group departures) are transition months, so it’s neither the coldest nor the wettest months. But since you’re visiting all three subregions of Peru (Costa-Sierra-Selva as we say) you will experience heat, cold, drought and moisture in all its forms. So, like we mention in our article What to Pack for your trip to Peru, be flexible and prepared for anything.
Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog Best Time to Travel to Peru.
This trip can be booked as a group trip (that’s the first time this year!) or, of course, you can customize it to your own liking.
In the first case, you and your group will be together most of the time (and if you’re a single traveler not paying the single surcharge fee, you will even share a room with one other single traveler). There will also be enough opportunities to do something on your own, but mostly you’ll be together as a group. On some occasions, even other travelers will share the bus or excursions with you.
In the latter case, we can of course tailor the itinerary to your needs. But as the trip is now, you’ll be sharing with other travelers every once a while, and have several private experiences, too.
If you ask us for the PDF version of this itinerary, it will be better described when an excursion or transfer is private, and when it’s shared.
Since 2011, Agnes has created hundreds (if not thousands) of itineraries for our clients. And the one element that she loves to include most are the homestays with our beloved host families in the communities. She has been to every family in this trip and cannot recommend their experiences enough.
The Local Way represents the Peru trip that Agnes loves selling most. Ask for her in any of these homestays and you will get smiles in return (and probably be asked how Agnes is doing, since she and Guido live in Europe now).
Fall in love with our hostfamilies just like Agnes did so many years ago. “I will never forget the joyful reception at Titicaca, the hot water bottles – cholitas – in Coporaque, the amazing spicy sauce of Julia and in general the genuine interest of everyone in my own culture and home country. I feel so honoured to be able to recommend these experiences to all of you and bring more joy to all these families!”