Peru Highlands Explorer

Duration 13 days
Ideal time to visit May–October
Price guide
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View of Colca Canyon
Quechua Indigenous Woman in traditional clothes walking along ancient Inca Wall
Explore the living history and breathtaking scenery of the Peruvian highlands on this incredible adventure, as you visit some of the country’s most rewarding must-see locations and sights – including the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu – as well as lesser-known but no less memorable highlights.

Trip highlights

  • Discover the fascinating neighbourhoods of Lima
  • Explore the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu
  • Board the stunning Belmond Andean Explorer train
  • Visit the UNESCO-protected city of Arequipa
  • Enjoy the scenery of the Sacred Valley of the Incas
  • Hike the Colca Canyon in search of the Andean condor

Our bespoke trips include

We design one-of-a-kind journeys incorporating luxury in all its forms. Our bespoke trips include:

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Privately guided tours
  • Private transfers
  • Meticulously selected experiences
  • Expertise and support from your Jacada Concierge
Black and white illustration of two guides pointing to a building in the distance
  • Days 1–3 Lima
  • Days 3–5 Sacred Valley
  • Days 5–6 Machu Picchu
  • Days 6–8 Cusco
  • Days 8–10 Belmond Andean Explorer
  • Days 10–11 Arequipa
  • Days 11–13 Colca Canyon
Peru Highlands Explorer
Price guide
  • Days 1–3 Lima
  • Days 3–5 Sacred Valley
  • Days 5–6 Machu Picchu
  • Days 6–8 Cusco
  • Days 8–10 Belmond Andean Explorer
  • Days 10–11 Arequipa
  • Days 11–13 Colca Canyon

Itinerary in detail

Every Jacada trip is tailored to your personal preferences and interests. Below you’ll find a sample itinerary to inspire your own custom-designed journey.

Days 1–3

See Lima in luxury

Your journey will begin with two nights in Peru’s capital, Lima. Here you’ll experience everything from the city’s mouthwatering food scene, to its unique character and history, intriguing museums and attractive downtown.

Your concierge can arrange any private tours you wish and you’ll have all of our recommendations at hand for the best things to see and do in the city to make the very most of your stay.

Aerial panorama of the modern coastline of Circuito de Playas de la Costa Verde (Lima, Peru)

A private culinary tour

Market visit and lunch

Start with a visit to one of Lima’s most emblematic and picturesque markets, where you can see, taste and purchase the most popular ingredients used in Peruvian cuisine guided by a culinary expert. Sample chirimoya, pacay, mango, passion fruit, aguaymanto or aguaje and stop by the impressive seafood section. Then it’s on to lunch at La Picanteria, a restaurant owned by famous chef, Hector Solís.

Days 3–5

Two nights in the heart of the Sacred Valley

Northwest of Cusco, the Sacred Valley is one of the most beautiful and historically important parts of Peru. The valley was one of the bases of Inca civilization, the river that winds its way through the valley floor believed to be aligned with the cosmos.

The valley is also home to many indigenous people living the same way they have been for centuries. During your two nights here you can visit local markets and get an insight into community life today.

Ollantaytambo, Peru

A private tour of the valley

Crafts on sale in Ollantaytambo, Peru

Start at the Inca fortress town of Ollantaytambo, one of the most important if not visible vestiges of how the Incas inhabited and functioned in their cities. Enjoy a picnic lunch and a special ceremony of song and traditional offerings to Pachamama, Mother Earth. This ceremony evokes the spirit of healing, with pre-hispanic instruments and sacred medicines including palo santo, tayta sayri, mana coca, agua florida, condor’s feathers, grandfather puma, essences and incenses.

Aboard the Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu

Vistadome train Peru

The Vistadome train takes you to the magnificent ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in superb comfort. As per its name, the train has wide glass windows built into the roof and sides of the carriages so you really do get to see the rich Peruvian countryside rushing past. Expect large leather seats, air conditioning, heating and excellent service.

Days 5–6

Overnight immersion at Machu Picchu

You can reach Machu Picchu by climbing up either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Both scenic sites offer incredible, sweeping views, but vary in route. Huanya Picchu is a steeper route for the confident hiker as you pass sheer drops and it takes around two hours. Machu Picchu Mountain is a rewarding three-hour ascending hike taking you away from the larger crowds to enjoy the vistas.

Your private guide will then take you on a comprehensive tour of the Machu Picchu citadel, bringing it to life by detailing the history, significance and myths as well as taking you to the hidden corners and best viewpoints.

Aboard the Vistadome Train to Cusco

Your one-night stay at Machu Picchu ends when you board the Vistadome Train once again, this time from Machu Picchu to Cusco’s Poroy Station. If you’re looking for a true immersion in your surroundings, this is a unique way to connect with the scenery en-route to Cusco.

Days 6–8

Two nights in Cusco

You’ll have two nights to enjoy this beautiful city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Capital of the Incan Empire from the early 14th century until its Spanish conquest, Cusco is an enthralling city where you can find Incan ruins next to (or underneath) Spanish colonial architecture.

Here you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the Inca Empire and the country’s colonial past as you encounter splendid landmarks, atmospheric squares, intriguing archaeological sites and ancient ruins.

Morning sun rising over the mountains at Plaza de Armas, Cusco, City

Touring Cusco and nearby ruins

Ruins of an ancient Inca stronghold near Cusco, Peru

Starting in the Imperial City, a living example of the mixture of Andean and Spanish cultures, you’ll visit the Santo Domingo Convent, built over the Koricancha Palace. Later, you will stop at the Main Square and the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, is the largest and most impressive of four archaeological ruins on the outskirts of Cusco. Then it’s on to the archaeological sites of Qenko, Puca-Pucara and Tambomachay, located to the northeast of the city.

Days 8–10

Journey on the Belmond Andean Explorer to Lake Titicaca

Boarding the Belmond Andean Explorer in Cusco, you’ll start to unwind in your luxurious cabin as the train begins its journey southeast towards Puno. On the way you’ll disembark to visit Raqch’i, once an important control point for the Incas and today a fascinating archaeological site, as well as enjoy the first of many splendid meals in the dining car.

On your second day, you’ll awake early to catch the breathtaking sunrise across Lake Titicaca. Tours will allow you to explore the eclectic beauty and rich diversity of life on the lake, the largest in South America. Highlights include a traditional boat ride out to the Uros Islands, man-made lands carefully created from woven reeds that are constantly being replenished.

Journeying onwards to reach Arequipa, excursions take you to the spellbinding, rugged scenery of Lake Lagunillas and the Sumbay Caves, home to cave paintings are estimated to be almost 8,000 years old.

Uros floating islands on Titicaca lake in Puno, Peru
Days 10–11

Overnight in the 'White City' of Arequipa

Overlooked by the Andes mountains, UNESCO-protected Arequipa is known as the ‘White City’ (thanks to its buildings being constructed from white volcanic ‘sillar’ rock). Spend your time here soaking up the splendour and enjoying the views and likely sublime weather.

Aerial drone view of Arequipa main square and cathedral church

Exploring Arequipa

Arequipa cathedral in Plaza de Armas

You’ll learn more about Arequipa’s monuments, cultural buildings and day-to-day life on a comprehensive tour led by an expert local guide, starting in the UNESCO-listed historic centre. Highlights include Plaza de Armas and its splendid Cathedral and the Santa Catalina Monastery, built in 1579 and enlarged in the 17th century to house approximately 450 people at its height. You’ll also see the Momia Juanita (Juanita Mummy), discovered in September 1995 by the anthropologist John Reinhard in the heights of Ampato Volcano and believed to have been an offering to the Apus over 500 years ago.

A private scenic transfer to the Colca Canyon

Locals dance in Chivay

Your journey to the Colca Canyon begins as you leave the city via Yura, a district characterised by its rugged scenery, hills and ravines. It’s a splendid drive as you enter the Pampa Cañahuas Reserve, an extensive plain where you can spot herds of alpacas, llamas and possibly wild vicuñas. Continue through the fascinating volcanic landscape to the village of Chivay for lunch before arriving at the Colca Valley and your hotel.

Days 11–13

Two nights in the Colca Canyon

Blending a dramatic geography of volcanoes and canyons with sleepy Andean valleys, Incan ruins and centuries-old colonial villages, the Colca Canyon is one of Peru’s most beautiful and traditional locations. Packed with opportunities for adventure activities, from white-water rafting, hiking and spotting the soaring Andean condor, as well as chances to relax in hot springs and take life at a slower pace.

You will have the chance to explore the towns of Yanque and Maca to see their colonial churches and learn about unique local crafts.

Panoramic view over the Colca Canyon, Peru

Cruz del Condor

Condor flying through the Colca Canyon

Head to the Cruz del Condor to view the incredible Colca Canyon itself. This is the most popular point for viewing the canyon – it’s around 1200m (3937 feet) deep here – and you can almost guarantee seeing several huge condors circling up from the depths against the breathtaking scenery. A short walk will show you pre-Inca terraces where people still grow Andean products such as corn, quinoa and kiwicha.